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On the Other Side of the Car

June 7, 2013

I looked out my car window at a man folding up his table and putting his array of bracelets and necklaces away. Beside him was a woman dressed in a florescent-coloured raincoat asking passersby “Could you spare five dollars so I can get something to eat?” Two ladies approached the man and purchased a bracelet. The florescent-coloured-raincoat-wearing lady asked the two women what she had asked countless others. They told her that they had already given all of their money to the man with the bracelets. Then they walked away.

It was getting late. The chilly air was enough to get me to roll up my window. The man with the bracelets continued to throw those shiny beads into a plastic bag, which he then tossed into his traveller’s suitcase. I watched as he kicked in the legs of the table and folded it in half. Then he picked up his table and suitcase and left. I craned my neck so that my nose was pressed up against the window and watched the fifty-something year-old man walk down the busy Chinatown street with his table and suitcase in hand. He just picked it up and walked away – almost like it was something he was accustomed to doing.

It was just another reminder of how great I have it. Sometimes, we forget how miniscule our problems are in comparison to others’. We complain when we have visa bills to pay, papers to write, and deadlines to meet; I think we often forget to see the forest for the trees. Or maybe we’re just snobs. It was hard to shake that merely an hour ago, I was strolling through Yorkville, a neighbourhood in which it was not uncommon to see women toting around large Tiffany’s bags and men in trench coats with leather satchels.

Here I was in the comfort of my car, reading one psych study after another in preparation for writing my own paper, when on the other side of the car is a world that I have never known.

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