The kindness of strangers, the vicissitudes of life, the merry-go-round at the mall
I called a man today. After he said
hello and I said hello came a pause
In the fall of 1991 I was the lowest-ranking waiter at a steakhouse in Hampton, Virginia. My sole transportation was a Honda 350 motorcycle — halfway between a street bike and a moped — whose chain slipped at the most inopportune times.
I was home on fall break in my final year at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and I needed money to pay tuition, so I was working a twelve-hour shift with my father at the ceiling-tile factory.
I was twenty-six, working full time at the Bagelry in suburban Chicago, avoiding the future. The future did not seem like anything you could count on. Even in suburban Chicago, where Public Works employees smiled while scraping up roadkill, people were unhappy, desperate to convince themselves of something good. Desperate.
Amlan Sanyal took these photographs at a road-construction site on the outskirts of his hometown of Siliguri in West Bengal, India, near the foothills of the Himalayas. He says the workers, mostly migrants from remote villages, are often exposed to hazardous materials and run an increased risk of respiratory problems, dermatitis, gastrointestinal diseases, and other disorders.
I stood inside the entrance of Central State Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, waiting to get patted down. It was my first visit to the institution, in 1992. I was twenty-four and had been working in the field of disability and mental health for two years.