I Spoke to this Strange Man
The other day on my way home from work. I was walking. He couldn’t find Pace University, and I directed him, even though I wasn’t really sure where it was. Sadly, I had prompted him in the direction I was walking. I said OK have a good day. He said thank you but kept stride with me and asked me what I do in the area. I said I live here, which made me think maybe that was a not great answer but then I realized this is Manhattan and I’m an adult and he doesn’t have candy or a car or anything good and is probably old enough to take down or outrun. We have a conversation, which chips at me some. His son is a freshman. My siblings are sophomores in college. We say things about things. He has to turn right, which annoys me, because it takes a lot for me to talk to anyone, and I’m in the middle of a sentence. I feel life is a rude thing. But then I’m glad to stop talking again.
The next day, I go home on the bus. A tiny Asian boy throws up bile on the floor, and as I’m sitting in a sideways seat, it slowly inches toward my shoes. I watch it. I don’t want to get bile on my shoes. His mother is doing a bad job of wiping it up, because she is starting in the middle of the bile trail instead of at the front of it. I feel this is unjust, so I don’t move my feet, because I don’t think my life should be impacted by this vomit. It’s not mine. It isn’t anyone’s I belong to. And I win. My stop precedes the impact, and I leave.