In the above-street pedestrian skyway system of downtown Minneapolis over lunch today, I found myself following behind a young woman, whose appearance begged to be described as "sharp" in every scary sense of the word. I'm not sure if the word for this style is "punk" or "goth" or what, these days; but her hair, dyed jet black, was spiked in spear-shaped shards. Her lipstick and nail polish was glossy black, and rivets and nails and safety pins and railroad spikes seemed to pierce most every bit of exposed skin. The tattoos that covered her neck , upper back and arms were the stuff of horror films: dragon's fangs and barbed wire and thorns. Black leather and black denim comprised her wardrobe.
As she passed through one of the doorways over the skyway tunnel over 5th Street, her right hand balled into a fist and she punched the handicap button that opens the door automatically for disabled folks.
Aha, I thought to myself. Another spoiled young person, too damned lazy to even open a simple door for themselves.
But then I saw coming toward us a elderly pair riding single file in motorized scooters. Clearly husband and wife, they were almost certainly in their late 80s or 90s, and they now aimed their rides toward the door that had opened magically for their passage.
The scary girl didn't even acknowledge the old folks as she strode past them with hobnailed boots, but both the husband and wife each gave a small knowing smile as they rolled past toward the door she had kindly opened for them.
Reality is rarely exactly what we think it is.