Otherwise Occupied

My pedestrian travels were uneventful today. There was little to take note of, aside from the man with blindingly white, heart-shaped spectacles.

I miss the morning mayor of my building. I work part-time in a lively high-rise. It houses organizations of every strip, from arts groups to religious philanthropies, nonprofits, some unions, a blood bank, internet start-ups, and for-rent rehearsal halls. The lobby has public seating, and back when I used to get to the office by 9am, I’d see the mayor. He usually had a coffee and roll on the table front of him, largely ignored . He always wore a hat, a snappy porkpie with a small feather in the brim. He was small in stature, yet still able to drape across two chairs. His smile, always on display, exuded a physical energy that belied his senior years. There were usually compatriots around him, men who were headed, presumably, for the same destination. They didn’t speak to the mayor. There would be perhaps a handshake, but nothing more. And while that might indicate the mayor was the boss, I don’t think it was the case. I think he was just a dandy and hard to talk to.

There’s something about him I found so, so, – clean. Clean in the sense of a charming smile, an open grace, an expectation of an eventful day. This I witnessed every time I entered the building. The man could not shut off.

If it weren’t for my assumption he didn’t speak English, I’d have said hello to him. But my guess is he’s a Chinese immigrant, likely setting out to a warehouse for the day. So based on a convenient, ill-founded assumption, I don’t make an approach. I also held back because it didn’t seem appropriate. I would have tried to ape the same smile and my middle-aged, pure American teeth would’ve tainted both of our days. My tight jaw against his bright eyes? Exactly. That makes for a grotesque picture. I know full well what my face would do and I knew it would break everything apart. A much better choice to stay on the periphery, head to the elevators and, with a swift pull, cadge his shine .

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