11 March 2008
shattering a young buck
Emerging ourselves in the chilly Mornings of Bryant park- career women in Uggs, business men in dark hues- a few pop-fashion forwards in their twenties dashing across 42nd, to Conde Naste- the deli burgeoning with construction workers- strategically holding lists scratched onto cardboard: baskets full of muffins and bagels-
And I focus on the lone soldier:
He stood in the distance. He was tall, thin- remnants of adolescent acne upon his sunken face. Hair, a mousy brown. He stared forward. No one in particular was in his focus. He kept his back a few inches from the painted yellow plywood wall of a construction site.
Cigarette in one hand, dangling, occasionally jolting up for a desperate drag. In the other hand, a Monster energy drink. (He's "unleashing the beast" ?) He succumbed to frequent pulls from the drink, a ritual to break up the inhales from his cigarette. Beyond him, uniformed City Sights tours salesmen: speaking to enthusiastic blond couples, their children in strollers.
The next day, I spotted him again. Amongst the usual pressing chaos, everyone in their distinct and expected roles. He continued his ritual. Cigarette in one hand. Monster in the other. His corporate America.
Day three. I cannot help myself. I simply cannot resist. I bound toward him and exclaim, "Let's do this!" And offer him a high five. Cigarette in his mouth, he tentatively raises his free hand. We share this moment, then I depart from him. I walk around the corner, politely declining an AM New York free newspaper, and into my building.
The next day: he is MIA. He is missing for over a month. I find myself disappointed. What have I done? Have I shattered this young buck's reality? Is he now self-conscious of his breakfast ritual?
And then this morning: I spotted him. Departing from the Deli, with an orange Gatorade- No cigarette.