Bookmark #740

I met a driver last night who lost his job in the pandemic. An English teacher was now driving a taxi, almost reluctantly. “It is not about the work, you know? We have to do something, and this pays well, but if I miss something from my old life, it is the dignity of labour, that people talk to me nicely, that I am not considered some bottom feeder.” I said I had some idea of what he meant and that I sympathise. I had seen many acquaintances and, sometimes, friends treating any job where people exist to serve us with contempt. The latter got berated and chided; with acquaintances, however, I have always avoided confrontations in general. But I did understand his plight. He was young and, dare I say, more talented than most people I met or talked to on the daily, but when the cards are stacked against you, talent rarely helps.

He did not shy away from showing off his proficiency with the language—which I appreciated—as we talked about all possible things. As we spoke, I could not help but think of how life has been reasonably kind to me despite being a handful time and again. It did not take me any time to count enough things to accept it had been rather generous. We talked about the city and how it had changed, and then I looked outside and saw that the street we drove on seemed entirely different from half a decade ago, but I had barely noticed it. We do not notice ongoing change. It is far common to visit a city after years and be shocked with the newness than live in a town and find wonder and awe in its evolution. Just then, I realised how it is always the problems of others that remind us of our blessings, as selfish as it sounds. It is how we are bound to think, after all. A sunny day makes us think of water. A windy day makes a cup of coffee look divine. We rarely focus on what we see, what is truly there; we only see what is not.

I wished him well as I got out of the taxi. The night was coming all over town. It looked like it would rain, but then, it did not. When I woke up, I was officially off my sabbatical; it was time for the banal again. Only, I began the day without looking at what wasn’t there; there were ample things around for me to count and keep busy.

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