Walking Cross-Town. With Lightning Strikes.


5:40 am.
2nd morning train: Metro North to Grand Central.
Dark Sky reports: Clear, 45° F and Rising.

Wardrobe check:
Black Belt.
Black Suit.
Black Socks.
Black Tie.
Black Shoes.
Black TopCoat.
Black Underwear.

Train rolls into Grand Central 2 minutes late, red ants swarm, clamoring and jostling to get to the exits.

The pace accelerates, foot traffic is flowing. I bear down on a doodler staring down at her smartphone, and need to slow, way down.

There’s heavy foot traffic on all sides, I veer right to pass, glare at her, but it misses wide as Ms. Oblivious’ is clueless as to the traffic backup.

As I straighten up, I ram into a Suit, who teeters, wobbles and regains his footing.


“Sorry!” Not really. New York Pal. Call your Momma for help.

I accelerate, zigging and zagging out of the tunnels to the main terminal.

I approach the first set of exit doors and the traffic thins.

The Suit in front hears me approaching, waits a second, and holds the door open for me. Wow. What’s this all about? I pass him.


I approach the second set of doors. Suit in front, pauses, looks back, holds the door open. Wow. In NYC. 

And then here it comes. The Release. The Big Softening, triggered by a simple act of kindness, and then another in case I didn’t get the message the first time.

Lightning Strikes. Twice. 

Inspired by:

“What happens every day is what’s surprising. The treasure’s never where I look to find it but where I simply look – the sky, the wind, sunrise, a silver arc, the moment’s chance.”

~ Ursula K. Le Guin, from “The Everyday” in Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010



  1. Wow is right, but in my small town I experience this politeness and kindness a lot—and I extend the same….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is your mama calling, “play nice!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Isn’t it amazing how such a simple gesture can make your day? I try to remember that and pay it forward when I see an opportunity. One of my favorites: pay for an extra coffee when I buy mine–then, whoever orders a large next, gets it free. 🙂 Or pay the toll of the car behind me. Investment: $.75 to $3. ROI: Priceless.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like small towns. But I’m glad there’s hope (faint) for yours. As you have guessed I’m not a fan of big cities.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, someone held a door open for you. What would happen if someone smiled and said “good morning”? Where’s the nearest defribulator?!

    I guess everything is comparative. For me, lighting striking would be if someone in the pub told me where they find chanterelles.

    Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What color was your shirt?

    No one ever holds the door open for me when I’m in New York city.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Being a woman, doors are opened for me…I am glad that you also have such an experience. Dk must have had the look of strong presence, perhaps an angel in our midst…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What would happen if you made a bold departure from the white dress shirt and black underwear? May I suggest, a nice gray. I know to not suggest a change of sock color! Shoes I love the luxe shoes from NYC Paul Evans, “The Cagney” in Marrone, available in Black & Oxblood as well…made in Italy… https://www.paulevansny.com/collections/bestsellers no more paying over $1000.00 for fine gentlemen’s Italian footwear http://www.businessinsider.com/best-mens-dress-shoes-startup-paul-evans-2016-4 I’ve thought of sending on the Paul Evans link ever since you mentioned your shoe damage on the train many months ago…for a casual out of the office event I love the stylish, Oliver in Oxblood https://www.paulevansny.com/collections/monk-straps/products/the-olivier-single-monk-strap-oxblood I probably like those because I had a pair of German leather shoes similar to those of course feminine, but they weren’t Oxblood color, from my working days at Nordstroms…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Surprises like this restore our faith in mankind and remind us to pay it forward. 😋

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So the shoes, damaged months ago on the train…were they able to be mended or a total loss?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The black ensemble makes me think of a song lyrics, “long cool *man* in black dress” dress meaning clothes not the individual garment named a dress. Or how about, ZZ Top’s : “Sharp Dressed Man”? Clean shirt, new shoes And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.
    Silk suit, black tie, I don’t need a reason why. They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
    Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man. 🙂


  13. Really interesting photo…btw glad I make you smile, today…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. boom.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. There’s kindness all around you, pal…and as a born and bred New Yorker, I promise, even in NYC😉. Open those eyes, and when you extend that kindness, watch how it comes back – really..

    Liked by 2 people

  16. “Sorry!” Not really. New York Pal. Call your Momma for help.” – What???!! lol All this door opening reminds me of a funny story about my two sons. There was a time quite a few years ago when my oldest moved back home for a while, so it was me and the two grown boys. We went out to dinner one time and they let me approach the door of the restaurant and open the door for THEM…but that was the last time. I scolded them so much about being gentlemen, that from that time on, whenever we went anywhere together, they would run to open the door and if it was a set of double doors, I had one son on each side opening the doors at the same time. I am the queen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The black ant rules. Fastest among all of them. But reflective and softened by kindness. That’s a wow right there!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reminds me of the three workers getting coffee I told you about last week.
    My company is sending me to NYC for a few days. I’ll probably look like a rube. Us Texans have funny ideas about what NYC must be like.
    Hope I don’t get mugged.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mhuckabee1 says:

    The real lightning strike is not that someone was polite, it was that your attention was drawn. We can see the forest of other people and simply pass through it thinking our own thoughts, lost in our reverie or absorbed by the small glowing rectangle that lets us be separated from them. Then suddenly something makes us aware of the tree, the single person or the singular event that reminds us we are not alone. It is that moment of connection that is the true lightning strike. Unexpected politeness snaps us back for just an instant to consider the person, the moment, as an individual rather than the mundane blur.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love Ursula. ❤ Great photo, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I love everything about your post David ….sending gratefulness for your creative gift

    Liked by 1 person

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