If I had blinked I would’ve missed it.
On my commute today, I spotted a man running hell-bent, carrying a small bag of some kind. We were at a stop so while others boarded, it was somewhat hard to ignore this fleeing figure that burst across the bus’s path.
Before we pulled away from the curb, another figure appeared, equally hell-bent and hard on the heels of the initial running man. It shows how little functioning is going on in my brain first thing in the morning that it didn’t dawn on me what was going down. It took the man seated behind me to wrap it all up in a few simple words.
“Aw, s___! He beat my man!”
Watching the two figures, the second man rapidly gaining on the first, I realized what had occurred. I wondered what was in that swaying bag that the first felt such a need for on this bitterly cold morning. I worried that it could be something for his work lunch or worse still milk or baby food or some other valuable staple that many have to go without on these hard days. Whatever it was, to him it was worth risking not only jail but also the possible beat down that could occur if he were caught by the store’s owner.
“The s___ you see on any given morning in the hood” was the response to the whole incident from the man in back
I realized that again, he was right and that on any given morning, not only in the hood but almost anywhere these days (except Wall Street) people are forced to do without.
It’s a statement to the times we live in that whether its material necessities like money, food, clothing or shelter or something less tangible yet equally vital such as happiness, pride, optimism or hope, people are going about their daily lives without such needs.
As the bus pulled away, we all noticed that the first man was waning and the second had almost caught up to him; in fact, was reaching out to grab him. I hoped that there wouldn’t be any violence and that the storekeeper would tamp down his anger in favor of some above and beyond charity.
I thought back to a time when such things weren’t totally unheard of in the hood, charity that is. You could go down to your neighborhood corner store and get some much-needed items “on the eye” until you were straight come pay-day or whenever.
But that was then and this is now, it’s as simple as that. These days, we could just as easily have seen the storekeeper running behind the man shooting at him. I guess we can be happy at least that it hadn’t gone that far.