Why complain about the air when there's nothing else to breathe?
Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter
I walked Sophie up and down, up and down the block today, waiting for Henry and Oliver to get haircuts. Sophie is out of sorts these days. Something bothers her, but we don't know what. She tosses her head, bangs it on any nearby hard object. She throws herself toward those who are supporting her as she walks. She hums and sits down in the middle of the grass, the sidewalk, her room. She is at once restless and unsteady, not interested and purposeful. So, as we're walking up and down, I'm in no mood. No mood at all, particularly for the staring. I imagine lasers coming out of my eyes and boring down and into those who stare and twist their heads backward. I feel no kindness or understanding and think that perhaps I'm inviting hostility with my own. So be it. There are times to humor the ugly. Outside of the Rite-Aid an old, exceedingly ugly homeless man begs for money. He is always there. I walk up and down and past him numerous times, and on my final lap -- the boys have appeared, shorn -- he looks straight into my eyes and says, God bless us all. I look right back at him and nod my head. I say Yes. I think, fleetingly, that this pathetic, worn man has recognized me as him and that makes me uncomfortable. As I pull Sophie along, I realize that he is, literally, the only person who, in recognizing Sophie's difference, both made eye contact and spoke to me.