As I waited at a red light, my attention was captured by a man wobbling to a strange rhythm. His clothes and flesh under the clothes hung uncomfortably on his bones, sagging here and there as he tottered toward the busy intersection on a stretch of sidewalk that he navigated as if he were using a dream compass to cross an alien landscape. He hesitated, glanced back toward the square of sidewalk that he had just successfully traversed. There flashing like a beacon in the afternoon sun was a small metallic object just of the center of the sidewalk. The saggy man stopped and girding up the small cardboard package he held tightly to the side of his body, he prepared for his return journey to the previous square. Turning unsteadily, He glanced casually as if the metallic object was of no interest to him. Then with the grace and skill of a dancer, he crouched and snatched the shiny object, and all in one motion straightened, sliding it into his front pocket and continued his wobbling progress to the intersection through the wild white desert of the sidewalk. If I had glanced away for a split second I would have completely missed it. I would maybe checked the signal and then when I went back to the wobbly man there he would be continuing his journey. I would have no idea that he had just performed a miniature ballet to snatch something I hadn’t noticed and still do not have any idea what was flashing in the sun. Maybe something unspeakably precious that would enrich my future life. Who can say?
The light turned green, and I continued on my way wondering where that man was taking the shiny object, and would his dream compass get him there. I hope he was not an evil time traveling scientist bent on worldwide destruction and the shiny object the one remaining piece to complete his evil machinery. Oh, well, I had my journey to continue with my own dream compass to guide me down the black river of road that carried me into the rest of my day.