Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Step Inside Happiness
First there was a chalk arrow on the sidewalk pointing towards happiness followed by a circle of happiness for anyone to step inside.

Morning rush hour on 6th Avenue at five minutes to nine. I giggled as I stepped inside, amused by its silliness. Then I waited around to see how many more ventured in for a moment away from their hectic mornings.

No one else did. One more paused for a picture, but he didn't step inside. I was a few minutes late for work.

Mid-afternoon I had another chance at stepping into happiness. Then I waited. I didn't see anyone else even noticing happiness was right there, or if they did, they chose not to step into it.

It was a crowded sidewalk on 6th avenue between 18th and 19th. It's a busy thoroughfare with a constant flow of foot traffic in both directions. The chalk drawing was at the edge of the sidewalk in the area generally reserved for street vendors. It was on a clear space between a hat and cellphone accessories stall and a cluster of free newspaper stands. There was plenty of room around it, but like happiness, you had to step outside the flow to reach it.

After work, I had one more opportunity. This time I stayed in there for about a minute, smiling and watching people walk by me. This in New York is crazy behavior.

Since I wasn't on my way to or back to work, I moved a few feet away and took my time. I was baffled at happiness' invisibility. When I started getting cold I decided to count. I'd wait to see if at least one in a hundred would step inside.

If happiness were right there, wouldn't you want to stop for it?

I was up to 87 when a couple in their early twenties came by holding hands. He was on the phone heading in a straight line and she pulled him towards the sign. They stopped and stared at it. They let go of their hands. She stepped in and turned, looking around her in a defiant pose. He stayed outside, only the tip of his converse grazing the circle of happiness. Still on the phone, he was non-committal.

No comments:

Post a Comment