Life is hard for many reasons. These reasons seem to be independent of and synonymous with who we are. No one has it easy. It’s not difficult to observe the outward displays of life; accumulation of stuff, people, satisfaction, peace.
I ride a shuttle from where I park my car near the airport to the terminal. It’s my way of trying to control the madness I associate with the flying experience. Tonight there was no one else, just me. The drivers are usually young with a broken accent. This one was different; an older man showing the signs of age in his face, his hair bleached by the passing of time. Normally, I keep to myself; passing the short trip in silence. I ask how his day was.
This is his job; living off the tips from passengers. Sometimes a dollar to two a trip, his last one was 12 bucks. He took the opportunity to stop to pick up some cigarettes. He’s a 2 to 3 pack a day kind of guy. And he only likes the Basic brand without a filter that they only sell at the gas stations on 40th and 52nd. He recounts to me the days events; not enough for money for smokes that day he smoked his old butts at home, not enough change for a hamburger he had to only get fries for lunch.
I tipped him well tonight. Was it pity, probably so. With so much talk of oppression and victimization, this guy was my personal connection it all. Laid off, this was his last resort; so long to a golden retirement. At 15 to 20 bucks a day, his smoking habit has him by the balls. Until he kicks this addiction, he will most likely be toughing it out many days. I thank God that I have a job and a family that I love. So if I think that my day is going rough, it probably is; everything is relative.