I respect the hustle. Kids riding the trains giving commuters a little entertainment and the chance to smile on quiet noisy trains. They break up the monotony of subway life. We lift our eyes from our phones and catch a glimpse of street acrobats with the flexibility of a contortionist. They do tricks with their hats and slide from pole to pole keeping a rhythm held by music booming from a tiny “boom box” and the clapping of their crew members. They are hustlers trying to make an honest buck. They are jobless kids in a city where there are no jobs for them. It’s hard. I remember growing up having a paper route and then working in telemarketing, construction and at a gym. Today, the paperboy in my neighborhood is a man that looks about 45 (give or take a few years), drives an old rusty car and tosses papers out the window with the skill of a marksman hitting doorsteps like a target. Those other jobs that teens are suppose to have…fast food and retail…they’re still there, but a lot of them are filled by adults also trying to survive in this economy. Not sure when things will get better….because it’s never been that good for black boys and men. I guess I’m still hopeful. And today I’m just going to respect the hustle of these kids.
I reach in my pocket for a few dollars and decide to toss in a $10. They made me smile after a long day and I appreciate that.