Saturday, May 29, 2010


The woman had to be in her early 20s and was getting chatted up by a geezer old enough to be her grandfather. They stood in the shade of the building, talking. His mottled, yellowing hand grasped an I.V. stand, clutched it for balance, while he distractedly fought with the back of his gown.

It just wouldn't stay closed, though the old man had remembered to wear shorts. The hospital probably has a policy: Patients can't go out to smoke unless they wear their underwear.

He was all smiles, but all the woman ever did was frown and flick ashes from a cigarette in one hand while the other cradled her very pregnant belly. She looked bored. Maybe there was a line in delivery.

Down the street, a man with only one out of three appendages zipped by in the fasted wheelchair I've ever seen. I remember him from my bookstore days. He used to steal porn and books about UFOs --wishful thinking on his part tempered with grim acceptance of his lot, perhaps.

Everybody wants to feel good some of the time, but it's better if you don't think too much about what it takes to get you through the day. It's easier to think about what other people do.

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