Friday, July 11, 2008

Stuck People

What prompted me to write this entry was a guy I saw at a deli in Rockville a few days ago. A million years back when I first moved to the area I already saw him as a pale, scrawny kid doing small chores in the shop. He was nice and bright, and gradually I became quite fond of him, always gave him a warm smile and a decent tip.

After a gap of several years I stopped by that deli again last week, and I was taken aback when I saw the same kid, now quite a handsome young man, still doing chores there. I could not help staring at him, so he recognized me and grew a bit embarrassed. He knew what I was thinking. You're killing me, kid. What have you been doing all this time? Ten years from now if I come back here and see you as a middle-aged man still with a broom in your hand and a towel around your waist, I swear I will give you a smashing punch in the stomach.

There is this girl who works as an all-purpose helper at a tiny restaurant in Falls Church I used to come for a quick bite. The first time I saw her she was new to the country, and even though her sauciness was not exactly to my taste I still could appreciate the eagerness in her sharp eyes and her slick manner. She won't be here for long, I thought. She will get herself either a good job or a guy with plenty of money. Recently I came back to the same tiny place and she was still there, her sauciness a bit sour, her eagerness a bit worn, and there was a hint of worry in her slick bearing.

Whenever I think of these stuck people, a Beatles song always pops into my head, the one that asks where the lonely people come from. Only the lyrics in my mind ask where the stuck people come from instead. Of course I sort of know where they come from, the point is that they make me feel depressed exactly the way Eleanor Rigby invariably does.

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