Thursday, February 19, 2004


This morning in the narrow reaches of the city on my way to the office I saw the kind of thing you might only see in a Japanese urb, it was on a narrow sidewalk on a narrow sidestreet, building wall on one side and street guardrail on the other, a slightly time-bent elderly sarariman (salary man) in standard beige trenchcoat with worn briefcase doddering along just ahead of me (actually he was probably my age or only slightly senior, but I'm not as old as I am in many ways), maundering as elder folks tend to do when they walk, and along past me dashes this big young bouncily energetic young guy in make-you-squint street duds and dayglo sneakers in a major sneaker hurry, obviously not on his way to an office but to some place fun and important (a morning date, a love hotel?).

The elder guy having drifted to the right, the young guy made to pass him in the narrow straits on the left, when the elder guy (apparently hard of hearing too) immediately began to drift implacably left, as the cosmos will always have it (the cosmos definitely has a sense of humor), causing the young guy to have to bounce in place then head toward the right, but by the time he'd reined in his stallions and was headed toward the right the elder guy had for some time been meandering toward the right also, and so it went on down the street in front of me, in what a humorless scientist would say was merely the random intersection of transit vectors, the two of them doing this dance of the young and old for about 30 meters as I tried to keep from laughing out loud at watching them waltz thus together, it was quite charming, and the young guy's respectful restraint superadmirable, until last he gave up, vaulted the rail and ran off down the street top speed to his urgent rendezvous, the elder fellow continuing slowly along in the blissful dodder that now seems to suit him so well; he's earned it, after all.

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