one man 1.6.99

I don't know his name. He comes to the house across the street from time to time, with relatives, I assume. People come and go, laughing, yelling, speaking only Spanish. Prejudices bubble up, in me and in the neighbors.

Cars come to the house in the morning to pick up white-uniformed housekeepers for the ride to work. Small children get dropped off. To me it seems to be more of a base than a home. That's how it is with renters, we say. That's how it is with those people.

I look out my office window and see him and I feel grateful that I'm not in his position. I know exactly how he feels. Well, maybe not exactly. I never had to try to find work in a place where I had to struggle with the language, or where I looked different, or where people already had an idea about the nature of my character.

All around him is abundance. People look at him with disdain, or they ignore him completely. He holds no sign asking for anything.

I go out to get my mail and I wave to him and smile. He waves back and smiles, and in a flash seems drenched with relief that he was acknowledged. I go back inside and sift through the my department store bills.

He came because the odds were better here, to be healthy, fed, and if he works hard enough, maybe even respected.

I don't know his name, and when I go to the window again he is gone.

today's music:

"I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" -- Sinead O'Connor -- MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE YOU'VE GOT MAIL


today's wisdom:

"The poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."

- Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:16