the man who often stands at the corner where the off-ramp meets the city street is talking to himself this morning. his attention is directed into the weedy roadside, and he's only half-facing the road, but i can see his mouth moving in that distinctive rhythmic way that denotes talking. i can't tell if he is making sound, if he is actually talking out loud, but there's an attitude of sincerity about him.
normally, he stares at the exiting cars. well, normal in this case being what is normal for him, what is usual for him. i wouldn't say it is precisely normal to stand beside the off-ramp and stare into cars. his stare is simultaneously intense and unfocused, as if he is looking completely through car, driver, passengers, detritus of the commute, and studying the road itself.
but, today his attention is elsewhere and this somehow causes in me a stab of homesickness as palpable as the mingled taste of toothpaste and coffee on my tongue.
the signal changes and i am reminded of my place in the river of traffic. i am reminded of my normal. away i float on the current of purpose that propels the fully employed.