Minority Report

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It’s late at night on the boulevard. This girl seems to have come from a special occasion of some kind. She’s nicely dressed, and there’s an I.D. hanging down from her neck. Maybe she’s a team leader, or just a delegate. In any case, she’s young, she’s pretty, and she probably belongs to educated upper society here. Maybe that’s her family car behind her, complete with a waiting driver.
But she doesn’t seem happy. There’s a strange look in her eyes, a slightly haunted look, as though there were something important she failed to do, or someone she left behind in anger and now is trying to forget. And passing beside her like an unseen shadow, there is this ragged child.

It’ s a different world passing her in the night. The ragged girl certainly is not part of upper society, has no car, has come from no particular occasion, and is probably not only uneducated, but hungry. She’s very young. If she’s on the streets this late, maybe there’s trouble at home and she’s afraid to go there, or maybe she doesn’t have a home to go to; it’s not unheard of.

In any case, she is no more aware of the society girl than the society girl is of her. They’re just shadows to each other, and will be all their lives. Even if the ragged girl gets lucky and winds up as a helper or a maid to the social girl, they will never really know each other in any real sense.

Although it’s common, and often true, to hear how little the rich care for the poor — the reverse is also true. The poor cannot see those above them as people, but only as possible sources of money. They smile and obey, but not because they care.

How could they understand the sorrows of those who have cars and good clothes and plenty to eat? They can’t see that those sorrows are just as real, and painful, as the ones they feel. They can only care for people like themselves; their husbands, unemployed- their children, often sick- their cousins, on drugs- or in jail.

The social girl with the haunted eyes will get in her car and go home now. Whatever disturbed her will be forgotten. Perhaps, after all, it was only the cold wind from this ragged child, passing beside her in the night.

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