I could sit a little longer and pay a little more attention while the snow falls outside and my ears start to hurt.
It’s the middle of the morning and people are walking to work with their heads down but I’ve got nowhere to be.
I watch them move quickly and talk on their phones and clutch coffee cups that have different lids, a declaration of how much money they have to spend before 7am.
There is a Chinese man on the street and he is talking in a language I don’t understand, seemingly calling out to the people that walk past.
He has on army pants and he is talking at a parking attendant who is ignoring him and picking at long acrylic glittered nails.
I keep looking at him, and looking at her, and looking at the people walking in a sea of steps and eventually I walk over, judging the woman with the long acrylic nails for not at least trying to give this man the time of day.
My boots crunch under the snow and my hair is full of white spots and I feel like I’m walking through a river but I cross the street over to him and say hello. He keeps talking, looking right through me, in the same language, and I don’t understand.
I gesture to the woman in the booth of the parking lot, and she looks at me and shrugs her shoulders. I ask him again if he needs help getting somewhere but he just keeps talking past me, talking to nothing, as if I wasn’t even there.
And that little bit of pride that I felt being that person who paid attention kind of evaporated, and like the parking attendant I shrugged my shoulders and kept on moving, alarmed at the quiet but stark realization, that I’m just like everybody else in the river.