On my way to meet him, I was down the stretch of Broadway between Astor and the old Tower Records Store when I saw a young man sitting on a door stoop, his back against the all-glass door. He'd clearly passed out - or he was so deep in a drug-induced haze that nothing could rouse him. And I mean nothing: because behind him was an older man trying to open the door to get out of the building. The young man was big, and the older man would push the door open a few inches, only to have the weight of Sleeping Beauty swing it back in his face. That kid wasn't waking up for nothing. The man inside the building was trapped. I caught his eye as I walked past, and he smiled and shrugged his shoulders, then continued gently trying to press the door open without hurting the young man. I didn't want to be late, so I kept walking, but I looked back to see a small crowd of people standing on the sidewalk, laughing while watching the young man pitch back and forth against the door, absolutely out of it and absolutely not budging.
About ten minutes later, I was standing on the sidewalk outside the garden area of B-Bar, waiting for Robert, when the older man walked past, his face bright red and his shirt stained with sweat. I wanted to ask him what happened, but decided against it, and let him pass in silence. He looked so relieved to be outside, I didn't want to disturb him. In a way, I kind of felt the same.