I was walking down the street the other day and came upon John, a frail man in his late sixties. John has all of the tell tale signs of Parkinson's: The tremor, the gait, a bit of a drool. His hair was combed on one side and messy on the other. John always wore an old blue pinstriped suit. The suit looked big on him. Like he had shrunk over the years. He always wore a dress shirt, no tie, buttoned to the top button. And clean Nike running shoes. He was carrying a cup of coffee. There was a trickle of spit forming on the side of his mouth. John was waiting for the light to change, you know, that twenty seconds we are allotted to get over to the other side of the street. It was rush hour. When the light changed John looked nervously to the left and right, then carefully babystepped off of the curb and into the traffic, chin down and determined. He paused and did what looked like a little tap dance, then teetered back a step, and then inched several tiny steps forward. John's hand was shaking. The coffee was splashing. People were watching. The walk light changed to Don't Walk. John paused and looked at the ground. A thin line of drool appeared. He wiped it away. I asked John if he needed any help. He said no, but grabbed my arm anyway and mumbled something that I think was supposed to be funny. The light was changing to yellow then red. We were in the middle of the street. John high stepped over the center line, looked up at the curb and let out a feeble grunt, which might have been a fart. The cars waited as the drama unfolded. A man driving a bread truck was watching. He shrugged his shoulders and pointed at the stop light. John's hand was shaking. He splashed more coffee. His cup was nearly empty. Someone honked. I smiled. John leaned into the wind and got a running start, tiny stepping the rest of the way to the other side of the street. We made it. The bread truck man smiled. Someone tooted and waved. I think that i heard a smattering of appause. Getting John accross the street was a victory for everyone. John looked into his cup. It was empty. He took a sip anyhow, crushed the cup and put it into his pocket. I think I saw another cup in there.
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