Letter to a Passerby

Dear Passerby,

I doubt you will remember me; how we passed on the street during the post-work rush hour. It was horrible weather, gusty, cold, and with a lingering dampness after the scattered rain we had earlier. I think the city had a certain charm even then, if you looked at the headlights of the squabbling cars mixing with each other and racing along the road. Everyone in a hurry to get home and start putting dinner together. Hastening to the moment when they can throw off work with their wet winter coat and tuck into a solid meal with their families. There is poetry in all the darting around, as if all will turn to stone when the last of the sun disappears.

But you couldn’t see that. You couldn’t even see where you were going, or hear the warning cries from me as we drew close to colliding. At the last possible beat instinct made you look up, and your glazed eyes saw where you were. On the street about to walk into a person in a wheelchair. That was me. Those eyes that leaped out at you and zoomed past as you make an awkward shift to the left were my eyes. Where had yours been all this time when they were supposed to be looking out for you? Why were your ears blocked by plastic? You are immune to so many experiences that your world is a dull monochromatic grey. Numbed as you are by the anaesthetic gadgets claiming an ever increasing economic share you cannot keep yourself safe, much less enjoy a moment, and would not remember your life if it was played back before you.

There is hope for a cure. This is not a terminal condition, and the anaesthetic does not yet have a total hold on your soul. But to treat this malady you must do something very simple. Something so easy you might never consider it, nor see its virtues until you have tried it. Pocket your phone. Look around at the world and see its beauty, its complexity, and its ironic simplicity. Most importantly, you won’t walk into people in wheelchairs. Ah, what a pleasant world I am dreaming of.

Sincerely,

Joe

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