Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I walked morosely down 50th Street after work, in the light, cold rain. At the intersection of Sixth I perceived a commotion in the corner of my left eye. The walk signal was on and some were walking but in the middle of the crosswalk two figures stood in opposition. One was a white-aproned delivery man, a short guy, with a baseball cap, probably from Ecuador, wherever. One of these spectral illegals who risk their lives on wobbly bikes to bring us our cheeseburgers deluxe. He was in a protective, recoiling stance beneath a towering man in a suit and pricey shoes, a haircut you could polish diamonds. The tall man was berating the delivery man, indignant, enraged. I saw then that the bicycle lay in an inelegant heap in the middle of the street. So I guess he almost hit the guy, or did hit the guy, or who knows really. To be fair, I didn't see what happened. But then the tall man disengaged and turned around, and finding the bicycle before him he stomped on it, four or five times, with the heel of his shiny, right shoe. Didn't do much good. The old beater of a bike - streetworn delivery bike - rattled against the street a bit but didn't seem to break. Delivery guy just stood there. I scrutinized the tall man as he walked away. I wondered if he'd vent more rage, shout a curse, appeal to passersby for vindication. No one had seemed to notice any of this, by the way. I followed him from across 50th Street to the 1-2-3 stop; he went down on his side and I went down mine. When I followed him through the turnstile I wondered if I'd perceive by now an expression of shame or regret on his face but I found none as he walked up to the edge of the tracks to stand and wait.