Very brief scenes from the road.

I think tiny miracles happen all the time, all around us—we just don’t perceive 99.9% of them.

Think about when you walk into a room and hear a ticking clock.  At first you hear nothing but the ticking; it sounds like a hammer pounding in your ear. Tick, tock, tick tock.  But after a minute or two you stop hearing it.  Does that mean the clock isn’t there, that it isn’t ticking anymore?

No, you’ve just stopped perceiving it.

Standing at the intersection of Grand and Orchard, in New York City.  Two groups of pedestrians stack up at opposite corners. We pack in shoulder to shoulder, all different shapes and sizes, like Tetris pieces: businesspeople, students with backpacks, senior citizens, a kid holding a basketball, a pregnant woman with a stroller.  We’re all different, but taken together, at a glance, we just look like one interconnected block.  A crowd.

At last the WALK square flicks white–the wave of the matador’s cape.  The first shoe on the left side tips toward the pavement. Its mirror image hits on the right. Now we’re striding toward one another…two solid masses with little-to-no space between their individual parts are advancing toward one another at great, almost frightening, speed.  It’s going to be the battle scene from Braveheart—skulls cracking, bones snapping, screaming, spearing—just a tangle of bloody humanity in the intersection.

This is when the miracle happens.

Just before impact the two sides flex, ever so slightly, and mesh seamlessly.  No one ever slows, or even looks up.  The businessman types an email on his Blackberry.  The kid spins his basketball on his finger.  The woman pushes her stroller.  And then a second later the street is clear and the human Tetris pieces trickle up to the corners, and the process repeats. 


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