Cold cold

Y U N I  |  J u l y  2 6 , 2 0 1 5

The other night, as I stood waiting for the bus, a woman crouched down on the sidewalk. Her plastic bag, which held some music records and other miscellaneous items, had ripped. I offered her a plastic bag that I had in my backpack. The bag I offered was too small to hold the records. Still, I kept trying to fit the items inside. A man who was witnessing the scene suddenly came to help. After seeing that the items were not going to fit inside the bag I offered, he asked me if I had a bigger bag. It's strange the way he looked at me while asking me if I had another bag, as if I was hoarding plastic bags in my bag, as if I had a bigger plastic bag but was just waiting for someone to ask me if I had a bigger bag that would be more useful. Did he not think that if I had a bigger bag, I would have pulled a plastic bag suitable to the size of the records? Did he not think that I could see that the woman was carrying large-surfaced items that needed a bigger bag? I said no. Yet, he stared for a second too long, making me think that he might be thinking that I might be lying. During the second that ensued I thought that he might have been trying to relieve the situation, by making up for the lack of help he provided in the only way he knew how: speaking useless words only to appear helpful. The second after, he wordlessly dismissed himself from the situation. I tried to help the woman still. Instead of using the bag as a bag, she thought to make a sturdier more comfortable handle out of it. She thanked me for my "good action". I felt nothing for them. The action and the gratitude. A smile and a "no problem". Earphones back in place.

The image is a movie still from 1967's Two for the Road.

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