There is the same man on campus that walks around with a shorts, Teva sandals, and a bag. He’s old, with a salt and pepper beard, a little pony tail, and a baseball cap. I assume he’s a student for some reason. He doesn’t quite seem to have the air about him that the homeless, who come into the library, seem to have. They use our computer and their possessions lean against columns – camping bags, sleeping bags, dirty bags.
At the beginning when I started at this school, it seemed I would see him around campus at steady intervals. I don’t know what really struck me except that he would walk around with a white, plastic, bookstore bag. Every time I saw him, he carried nothing but that bag and as time passed, the bag slowly fading and growing more decrepit with wear, I would wonder, ‘Why no backpack? Why this bag?’
From one sighting to another, he abruptly transitioned to another crisp and clean bag, still from the bookstore, and that struck me as well. Why always these plastic bags?
It’s been several years. About a year ago, I noticed him walking into a coffee shop with an actual bag. It was a beige, canvas shopping bag. I remember staring at it and remarking to myself that he finally had made the step up. I felt silly to notice that. He carried that for a while. But when I left work today, I noticed him walking into the library, with a sturdy, padded, black and green handbag clutched in his left hand.
I wonder if I strike other people the way that certain people strike me. I wonder that I notice this. I thought about this as I walked to the car. I wonder if other people notice the same things and have the same thoughts about them as I do.
I see cars coming to the intersection. A mini van hits a bump just right, the front wheels dipping it deeply forward and slanting the top of the car. It becomes animated to me, seemingly bowing toward the intersection. I wonder how the person inside reflects all my connotations of the bow.
I see a young man in front of me, mid stride, reach up to rub an orange-reddish leaf between his fingers. I hear the rustling of his touch and his laugh from it. I wonder why he laughs. I rather hope he laughs in wonder.