Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday

Today the light was filtered through clouds and the weather wasn't too cold, so the color palette was perfect for wistful sounding Celtic-inspired music. I started my two week long temp gig today, which is mostly dull but easy, and I do get to fill in for the receptionist during her lunch, which means I get to play on the computer for an hour.

After work I rode the train home, obediently listening to sad folk music, thinking to myself that if this were a movie this part would be the montage of daily comings and goings of the second act of whatever the plot was. Then I thought, who else would be in my montage? Where does my story intersect with those of others? And if one got an omniscient view of things for a moment, could one see all of the different moments in our lives and how they weave in and out of each other? For example, during a moment when I'm laughing around a dinner table with friends, would that scene be shown in contrast to a friend who's broken-hearted across the country? Or when I'm walking to work with the other commuters, looking out the window or shrugging off a chilly blast of wind, how many other people I know are doing something similar but in a completely different setting somewhere else? Did I bump into a future friend whom I will meet for the first time at a bar watching the hockey game a week from now?

I was turning that over in my mind as I got off the train at my stop with the rest of the home-from-work crowd. As I walked down the stairs from the platform, I saw an older man ahead of me a little ways. He appeared to be homeless and was obviously drunk, or high, or maybe even mentally ill, holding on to the bannister and stopped in mid-step about five steps from the bottom, looking off into space and swaying slightly. A man coming down the stairs behind him, maybe in his mid- to late-thirties, stopped, put his hand on the old man's back, and asked him if he was going to be able to make it down the stairs all right. The man blinked and said something to the effect of, "I'll make it all right," but it was apparent that he couldn't. I slowed down and turned my head as I passed to see the kind stranger put his arm around him, take on his weight as the old man leaned on his shoulder for support, and helped him make his way, slowly, down the stairs. I didn't hold back the smile that spread across my lips. What a beautiful sight.

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