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Down the Block

posted May 21, 2013, 4:06 PM by Golden Knight
By Robert Farewell

5/21/13 
Here I am, back at the corner of Glenoaks and Grandview. It is the spot adjacent to the park where I played little league baseball and across the street from that old, empty lot. I come here often, and by here, I mean Carl’s Jr. The fast food joint I call my library; the restaurant I call my second home.

 
A lot has changed since I first brought my homework to Carl’s Jr. It was a refuge for me in the beginning, maybe an escape. My sister’s psychiatric issues have not made life easy on my family. Carl’s Jr. was somewhere I could go to leave the hectic situation at home, and hopefully, get some homework done. That was what it meant to me then, at least. Of course, the coffee was cold and tasteless, the chicken was undercooked, and the country music was rather unimpressive. I dreaded going, but knew I needed to. So I kept going back.

 It gradually became a constant. I was seldom absent. Over time, I began to feel more comfortable. The workers were no longer faceless, and familiar smiles began to greet me at the door. Beyond the neon lights and repetitive commercials, I found something legitimate. I discovered that the waitress, Minerva, serving me coffee had two kids. I heard the cook, Angel, say he wanted to go back to college. These people opened up to me, and I opened up to them. I was the young man who needed help conjugating the Spanish verb destituir in the subjunctive. I was a high school studenth who showed them the respect that made their day just a bit better. After several months, I realized that I was no longer running away from home, but I was running towards these people.

 Things have certainly changed during my high school career. I now drive, I now stress over Hamlet, and I just voted for the first time. What has changed the most is my perspective. I once held the belief that Carl’s Jr. was only a cheap breakfast place, or a pit stop on the road to something better. Until a few months ago, it was just an outlet for me to study. It was just a place I could escape to. Not anymore. I have come to understand and learn from people I thought I would never talk with. Although my family is only three blocks away, I have created an additional family. I have found another home, away from home.
   
I have concluded that nameless faces do not work here.  Rather, I have learned that genuine people do. As I go away to college, some things will not change. The front door will still bep opened by pushing rather than pulling, and Carrie Underwood will continue to blare over the radio. I am excited about the continuation of my education because as I have learned, growth is omnipresent; it germinates in classrooms, locker rooms, and even near the cash register of Carl’s Jr.
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