Lake Effect, Spring 2015, Volume 19: "Island Grace"

George Choundas, "Island Grace"      

Every fifteen minutes, on the island of Manhattan, a woman runs into me. Actually collides with me. Invariably each of these women, at the time of collision, is caught in a kind of fugue—gazing down, transfixed, her eyes awash in the Svengali colors of a device she cradles in one hand and nurtures with the other. A city of eight million people, and these women run into me.

The rate and consistency of the phenomenon belie attribution to coincidence. The facts speak for themselves. These devices cannot be mere phones, smart or otherwise; these women are not staring down at phones. These women are monitoring advanced guidance systems representing some combination of GPS trackers and classic-handsomeness detectors. The evidence is clear. They find me every time. I do not doubt they have the impossible-charm locator feature also turned on, these multi-tasking she-rascals.

It is a rarity, a special one, when some expensive component in one of the devices fails, when some negligible thing of silicon calves off some minuscule thing of silicon, and two Manhattanites peering down into busy plastic knock abruptly into each other. Have you seen it? Have you had the sweet fortune to witness it? Because this, too, is no coincidence. This is a show of God’s grace.