The Other American

Here is my post for October 3rd. I’m a little late (it’s 8 a.m. 10/4 for me) but yesterday was a very busy day.

Yesterday, I was in line at the metro station, waiting to buy my monthly pass. Eventually, there rested only one person ahead of me.

When he furnished his passport, it was a very familiar design – blue cover, blue and pink pattern inside; it was a much fresher twin to the one I carry in my pocket.

He was a shorter man, with dark hair and oriental features, and he spoke English with a thick oriental accent.

I don’t know if he had the same accent in French because he never spoke it. If the cashier had not understood English, he would have been stuck.

As he furiously dug through a thick file for the papers demanded, it occurred to me: this man was me just 1 year ago.

Unable to ask for information, anxiously trying his best to get this one task done, and a rather rumpled and harried look overall. He managed to get his pass and left in a barely contained hurricane of loose documents.

As I pondered how hard it had been when I first got here, I stepped up to the counter and, without incident and in French, bought my pass.

As I left the station, I passed the same man, knelt down on the floor, hurriedly organizing a folder full of papers from all sorts of agencies and offices.

“Don’t worry”, I wanted to tell him; “it gets easier.”

But I didn’t. He looked busy.


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