Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Train People

Yesterday, I saw a man who made me totally uncomfortable. He was crippled with palsy or a stroke. His body was contorted and he made his way through the door with jerky motions. He pulled himself through the train. His clothes were old but clean and sneakers were cheap but in good condition. I looked at him and looked away. He asked for money or for food. Not too ashamed or embarrassed he said. I found myself wanting to look away. I was the one feeling ashamed at my feeling of disgust and embarrassed that I would not give to him. I reached toward my bag to get out my phone and he thought I was reaching for something for him. I shook him off with a shake of my head. He again announced he would take anything, not ashamed or embarrassed. I started to think about what it must be like for him to be in his body. I also thought about his disability check and the benefits I know he receives. I know he is not homeless or without services, but still he begs.

I then saw an old Chinese woman who had on old sneakers that were 4 sizes too big. It was like an old woman playing dress up. They looked liked man sneakers on her small feet. She had too much room in the back. I watched her walk in those sneakers and wondered if she knew they were too big and why she had to wear those big sneakers.