I was looking at a woman on the N train yesterday. She was small, occupied minimal space, and seemed to move only when necessary. Whatever that means. Her purse was smaller than some of the pockets in my new messenger bag, her phone practically the size of a credit card, or so it seemed. It did not make me question my own relatively bloated carry-all. It probably weighs 40 pounds but contains almost anything I would need should MAGA declare war and I need to flee New York. No, in fact the question that seemed to ask itself was “How can someone need so little?” The first-world irony was not lost on me. In other contexts I would be the one to say “Somewhere in the world there is someone happy in life with less than what you have.” But when I see people travelling about so minimally-appointed I have to ask who they would expect to turn to if crisis struck. What is their plan? It’s not about their stuff or the quantity of possessions, but the simplicity of their movements. This woman primly took as little space and used as little resource as possible. When would she exalt? When would she uncharacteristically lie down across three subway seats, take off her shoes and put a blanket over herself, going to sleep for the rest of the afternoon?
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