I’m standing on the corner of Ventura Blvd and Laurel Canyon Drive, waiting for the lights to change when I look over and see, standing to my right, a gray-haired man dressed in wire rimmed glasses, black track pants, red running shoes, and a black hoodie.
To his right is a woman dressed in green striped pyjama pants, a black hoodie, and black flip-flops, holding a domed cream-topped iced drink from Starbucks.
And then I see, off to the right of all three of us, a metre or two away, in the middle of the footpath, his head drooping forward so far as to make only his chin viewable, a man in a wheelchair.
On his head is a black baseball cap, and he is wearing a heavy black winter coat, dirty green jeans and there’s a back pack hanging from the right handle of his wheelchair.
For a while I watch the man in the wheelchair, unsure of whether to give him some money, but then my attention is drawn to the woman’s creamy drink, and I start wondering whether I might like to go and get one.
Then suddenly, while I’m watching the caramel ooze down the inside of her transparent plastic drink container, the woman turns, walks over to the man in the wheelchair, places some money in his lap, gives his shoulder a rub and then turns back to wait for the lights.
Then, a few moments later the gray-haired man in the hoodie turns and does the same as the woman; walks over to the man in the wheelchair, places some coins in his lap, and then turns back to again wait for the lights.
For a moment I look at the man and the woman, thinking there may be an exchange of words.
But the say nothing to each other, they just continue to wait for the lights.
So then I too I take some change from my pocket, walk over to the man in the wheelchair, place the money in his lap, pat him on the shoulder, and then turn back to wait for the lights.
And then the three of us stand there for a few more moments, staring straight ahead, until the light goes green.
And then the gray-haired man in the hoodie, the woman with her cream-topped iced drink, and me, cross the street.