Daily Archives: December 2, 2008

Drifter (12.2.08)

When you think about drifters you probably don’t think about New York City. You think open fields, praries and high plains. It’s definition is someone who drifts, or a person who goes from place to place, job to job, etc., remaining in each for a short period, esp. a hobo.

A hobo? There’s a word that has slipped through the cracks of society. But I’m not talking about hobos here. I want to turn your attention to a different kind of drifter, a New York drifter. New York drifters are people who, when in a crowd, can’t walk in a straight line. They move ever so slightly to one side or the other, always to the same exact spot you are heading. You go one way. They, as if sensing your intentions, drift in front of you. Any move on your part to pass is swiftly thwarted. (You know who you are, readhead in the puffy North Face sleeping bag jacket on 23rd and 5th!)

Now you’re boiling over, helplessly caught behind this person and pinned on either side by other commuters.  In a NASCAR-like fashion you position yourself. Jeff Gordon nudging into the lane. You’d commit murder over the two inches that would allow you to slip past. “Move it!” or “Come on!” your inner voice cries out.

At some point, never soon enough, the drifter’s path allows for enough room to squeeze by. Then you’re home free. Until the next block. When you are stopped at a light, waiting for traffic to pass. The drifter appears at your side.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

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