You are walking down the street drinking a beer.
There is nothing unusual about this: Since having become unemployed, it’s been pretty much a given that if you are walking down the street — hell, if you are engaged in any ambulatory act whatsoever — you will be drinking a beer. Today’s beer is a sweet, hoppy microbrew, a splurge from the bargain-basement stuff you’ve been imbibing recently to save a bit of coin. You take another sip, savor it.
And that’s when you notice Mr. Charisma bicycling toward you.
You’re not on close enough terms with Mr. Charisma to call him a friend, but he’s at least an acquaintance. He’s a bit older than you, married with a third kid on the way — but with his dashing blonde-haired, blue-eyed American looks, he’s still got charisma to spare. He’s a good deal more charismatic than your jaded and bitter ass, that’s for sure.
Mr. Charisma is pedaling while talking to someone on his cell phone. As he approaches, you hear that his conversation is in English. Again, there’s nothing too unusual about this; he and his wife communicate mainly in English, and his Japanese is still a bit shaky.
The two of you make eye contact. Mr. Charisma lowers the phone to his chin and calls out to you.
“You doing all right?” he asks in Japanese.
“Doing great,” you reply, reflexively, in Japanese.
“Keep fighting the good fight,” he says. Again, in Japanese.
And then he goes back to his phone conversation.
He pedals past you toward a nearby intersection. You take a sip of your beer, cock your head a bit to the side.
And wonder just what the hell that was all about.