S30PBadge (1)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.


  1. Too close to home…

    We’re living off our savings. We are lucky enough to have some. And my husband was bright enough to buy us a boat to live on with them. But we are homeless. Just the thought of being turned down by so many employers because of my diplomas… I could NOT imagine being in my predicament if I were living where I grew up in Montreal Canada. Being homeless in the South on a boat where we find the 50’s to be chilly is such a different reality.

    Not sure what you meant by “subject line” but this was very thought provoking.

    • Thanks for commenting, Marie. I’ve been thinking a lot about abundance lately and trying to pass along values of gratitude to our own son. Even though we live paycheck to paycheck, we do okay. Things could be so much worse for my family, and I want to appreciate that. There is “want” and “need” everywhere in America no matter which direction a person looks.
      I enjoyed your post very much as well. My subject line comment was about how I followed just the “paper & glass” prompt in the subject line, because I hadn’t scrolled down far enough to see “of paper thoughts & tall glass.” The prompts evoke such different writing that I love it no matter how much it shakes out.

      • Ha! So cool… and thank you very much for your comment in regards to our prompts. I still wish we had more participation, we’ll keep building it!

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