shu and joe

Instinct

Published on April 23, 2006

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young waiter, no older than fifteen and with a smile of uneven teeth, plucking a patron’s fedora from the coat closet. He ran a palm down the dent of the hat and surreptitiously placed it on his head. Swallowing a shy laugh, he glanced at his now dapper reflection in the mirror. A starched white shirt lapsed into sun-bleached black pants and a pair of dust-caked running shoes. His face, now framed by a swathe of oversized felt, looked even younger than before and he pantomimed a quick solo waltz for the waitress. He caught her eye and mouthed “Someday, someday.”

Filed under: Beijing, China

1 Comment

  1. Marvin Vann says:

    I love these snapshots, and this is my favorite. All the elements come together so well: The appropriating of others’ finery in constructing one’s own dreams, the “trying on” of an alternative self, the discrepancy between the boys’ size and youth and his borrowed hat, the sense of a revelatory moment that resists the surrounding flow. This image will stay with me. Thank you.

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