Tuesday, April 27, 2010


  Also from Haiti.  A woman walks along the street carrying her child closely to her.  The little feet sticking our from the blanket make me sad in a way.

In the very early hours of the morning I sat parked in an ambulance at a truck stop and starred into the window of the late-night restaurant.  I had little else to look at aside from my watch, counting the hours until I got off from work and could go home to my own bed. 

Through the window I watched a very heavy-set African American woman, dressed in the cheap, red uniform, push a broom across the floor. If I were any place else I wouldn't have given it a second thought, but here I was a captive audience and couldn't help reflect on what I was witnessing.  Dozens of questions flashed through my mind as I watched the thirty-something woman go about her manual tasks.  Was this where she envisioned fifteen years ago that her life would end up?  What does she dream of, aspire to, or has she resigned her life to where she is now? I couldn't help myself and tried to recreate her life in my mind, I wanted to project myself into her reality.  What were her disappointments, her victories?  What motivates her?  Where, if at all, would she go back and change her life.  Above all, was she happy? The questions kept coming and coming as I watched her through the grimy window.

I suppose my lesson was that everyone has a story, a life, a past, and a present.  I for one am guilty of going through my days at times oblivious to those around me.  I see people but I truly do not "see' them; the man crossing the street with his young son or the woman pushing the broom late at night.  I suppose in many ways this is why I like 911 so much.  For a brief moment in time it's just me in the back of the ambulance with another person, a chance to get to know someone on a deeper more compassionate level, other than just simply seeing them.     

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