This is a Studio 30 Plus writing prompt.
Looking out the glazed office window, I can almost sense how cold it is out there. I hear the gusts of winter wind blowing past, shaking the pane of glass. If the caulking on the casing holds, I won’t have to feel it. How miserable a walk to the bus stop would’ve been this morning instead of my slump into heated seats of the Subaru before pulling out of the garage.
Scraping frost off the window’s surface reveals a slew of be-scarved, layered-up, sleepwalkers trudging down the block, submerged in their most weather-proof garb. All the clothing doesn’t seem enough to block out the chill. Apparently it does help shelter our empathy, though.
Layers of outerwear seem to stymie our sensitivity – it’s hard to know “want” when we have what we need. A harsh reality of no shelter is too hard to fathom, and coming in from the cold gets taken for granted.
A glaze comes across my contact lenses, the windows of my eyes, when I imagine someone’s life being spent in these bare conditions. The bristle of their frozen skin, dampness and musty smell of clothing, the consistency of discomfort. My relatively scorching position behind the glass feels like a cocoon in comparison.
The forecast is calling for precipitation. I don’t like driving when the temperature dips. Road conditions can get treacherous in the blink of an eye, and I hope I fear making it home safely.
The cold creeps in, and utility bills keep going up. It’s hard to make the paycheck stretch in this economy – these so-called “hard times.”
Gathering my things together to head out the door, I look back through the window to see if the freezing rain has started yet. It’s just beginning to drizzlde out there.
A man in a flimsy thrift-store trench shuffles past the plate that divides our worlds. His coat is only a thin layer of nylon that must feel like a paper gown with the damp soaking through. Head lowered, our eyes don’t meet.
I observe from my place of privilege – my guilty position – with its walls swathed in diplomas, before I close the blinds on another day.