B A H j o u r n a l i s t

Brian Anthony Hernandez

What stood out on my trip to New York? The People

The teenage girl wearing a hijab and thobe sneaked by me as I shivered inside New York’s Port Authority this morning.

Our eyes, however, met precisely when she wrapped her tiny fingers around the handle of my carry-on suitcase, and the calm expression on her face surprised me. She had tried to steal my luggage so nonchalantly that – in confusion – I had almost let her.

Of all the ways I had imagined my possessions getting stolen, this was not one. The wannabe thief didn’t hit or shoot me. She didn’t run away with items in tow. Rather, the nameless girl looked at me like a person trying to induce hypnosis: with peaceful intent. Exhausted from sitting on buses for more than 1,400 miles, I whispered, “That’s mine.” We briefly argued. Observers, who had seen me walk into the station with the suitcase, came to my defense.  She walked away, staring at me until closing elevator doors broke our gaze.

From Lincoln, Neb., where I began my bus trip Monday night, to Brooklyn, N.Y., where the journey ended today, I interacted with and observed the behaviors of people I thought could be supporting characters found in books on The New York Times best-seller list. The nameless girl was just one of many strangers that made The People the most fascinating part of my trip. Other standouts:

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July 28, 2010 Posted by | New York, Personal | 3 Comments