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i was only crying because i had missed the point

December 18, 2008


I saw this painted in huge blue letters on a building on Market as I was riding the bust to work.  Apparently, spelling is also boring.  Then, as we were stopped at a light, there was this old man trying to cross the lane next to us, and instead of shoes he had those black medical booties on both of his feet, except one of them had slipped off, and he was kind of dragging it behind him, as he shuffled forward with the help of his gnarled cane, and he was one of those people I want to call “homeless” but I really don’t know if he was homeless, I mean he probably wasn’t, but he was not doing okay, and he’s kind of lingering on the curb not sure whether to step out into traffic, and he looks scared, and then I see that he’s wearing a purple sweatshirt that has the words “be kind rewind” written in puff paint across the front, and at this point my eyes start to water, because he’s not even really that old I mean he could be my dad’s age, and no one’s going to play the harp when he dies.  And as I’m sitting there wanting to get the hell out of this city, a man on a motorcycle comes into view in the lane in question and he comes to a stop about five feet in front of the man and he motions him across really gently, like you might try to coax a kitten out from behind the couch, and the man on the curb tentatively takes a step, and I’m thinking that he’s going to take forever to cross the street and that the biker is going to get fed up with his charity and roar past him, and he will be stranded in the middle of the street, but as soon as he is off the curb his steps become a little more sure, and he is moving slowly, but the biker isn’t going anywhere and is actually holding his arms out to stop the bike messengers who are longing to make this light, and he is stopping all the traffic on Market Street at nine in the morning so that this man can cross where there isn’t even a cross-walk, and I tell you, I’m falling in and out of love with strangers 20 times a day.

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