Commentary: Charging Stations

By Edward P. Noga

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Recently, in traveling along the turnpike and stopping at the rest areas, my attention was drawn to a sight becoming more common as we make the transition to the ever-increasing reality of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Charging stations are becoming familiar sights. They will become as common as gas stations. Now, to use another vehicular phrase, I am going to shift gears and write about some other charging stations in life.

As one of my nieces was growing up, if the weather was good, her daily routine included heading out to the swing set (you remember them). They had two swings, a small slide and a back-and-forth two-seater. She would tell her mom that she was heading out for some “me time.” Charging station?

Dan Rossi takes a time out on the “charging station” at his downtown building.

My mom says her daily prayers on her rocker and has been doing that as long as I can remember. She is 95. Charging station? When not working in the grocery store or being involved with family or church activities, Dad was usually in the back yard, sitting by his workbench working on or fixing something. Charging station?

Back in the day, when I jogged five or six days a week, I had two favorite routes in Mill Creek Park. Each route included my favorite stop where I just paused for a few moments and took in the surroundings. Charging station?

These days, as I take my routine walk every other day along the amphitheater/Covelli Centre walkways and then up on the campus of Youngstown State University, often there is a gentleman sitting on the same bench near one of the downtown apartment buildings. He is always impeccably dressed, including a vest. Can’t help but believe that his time on “his” bench is his charging station.

Now, if you look to the right of the picture above, you’ll notice that the sidewalk sloping downward allows enough space for someone to sit on the right-hand side of the brick ledge. (BTW, thank you Dan Rossi[who owns the building] for posing for the picture.)

Believe me, I would love to tally how many folks, young and old, sit there for a while. Yep, I think it might be a charging station.

Families taking children to the Oh Wow! center often pause there and the kids immediately take a seat. When the weather is pleasant, you could have a coffee stand at the corner because often someone is sitting there with a coffee.

It’s not unusual to have someone seated talking to a friend who is standing. The ledge is often used for graduation pictures, the occasional bride and groom on their wedding day, and sometimes a shopper resting a bit with shopping bags alongside.

At times, you’ll see a student read a chapter or an article. Twice I noticed an artist seated on that ledge and drawing. Charging station?

With all that swirls around us each day, even those days when we don’t have too much on our plate, we need those times, those spaces, those special places that give us a few moments (or longer) to re-group, to ponder, to pause, to take a deep breath, or whatever helps us move on to what we need to do and where we need to go.

The “charging station” moments are important for perspective and a healthy outlook. The stations also include our hobbies and workouts and, for some, maybe going to the movies or a concert or lecture.

As mentioned, my niece Leah would head out the back door and tell her mom “I’m going outside for some ME TIME!” She was doing this when she was a little one – before she was even in school.

Leah, we all need ME TIME! Or a charging station. Whatever. Savor it!

It’s important for peace of mind, clarity and moving forward.