I often show up to my little lunch meetings with people early. But instead of going into the restaurant I stand on the street. When you walk through Chinatown, you don't see much, but when you just stand there you see all sorts of stuff. Here's this person I've known all my life who just passed by me but doesn't recognize me. Here' another person of the AACA clean up Chinatown committee. A young man waved to me, I couldn't place him at first but I realize he knew me from my interviewing around. The young are far more observant.
With my bike helmet on, a stand out, but at the same time I blend in as an outsider. People are used to seeing me with my kids, or with my Kung Fu uniform. Or going farther back, being carried by my dad. But it is hard to connect that all these people are one guy. That's why I can stand on this street corner sticking out like a sore thumb, but be simultaneously invisible.
I actually saw a heartwarming scene. A young black man in a wheelchair came up to Ding Ho. At first a group of white guys sort of didn't get out of the way quick enough for my taste. But then as he went up to get Take out, an older Chinese woman coming out went up to him and asked him if he needed help ordering etc. I thought I might have to do this, but instead I just hung back and observed. My feelings in humanity were restored. That feeling that we can all be part of the same community and work together to make things run smoothly, to look out for each other. Chinatown is not as factioned and broken apart as you would think. In the end we are all people living in a community together working to make it better, because it is in all of our own self interest to make it better.