It is cold and wet. The windows of the day laborers office are obscurred by condensation. Inside, I can see the huddled hooded men drowsy and dark. It is dark outside too and misty. From the platform it is not possible to see downtown.
A man and a woman get on downtown. They are dressed in thick black jackets with red insignias that read "securitas." They lead german shepherds, muzzled with red body garments. The man and woman speak in the dialect of inner-city youth. Telling the dogs to "get yo ass ova here" and peppering their speech with "mothafucka" this and that. They lead their dogs off after a few stops.
A middle-aged Chinese woman gets on. She wears a grey jacket with wide patches, the hood buttoned to itself, the elbows have circular patches; also a white knit cap with a rainbow of dots, stripes of color on the bottom and a ball of colored threads on top. She holds a pen and I am curious to see what she's writing but I have to wait a while. She makes notes in Chinese on a 2000-2001 sample test, probably a US citizenship exam. It has questions and answers in Chinese and English. Stuff like:
How many senators are there in the US Congress?
Who is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
(William Rehnquist - this answer in Chinese is only six characters)
If the President and the Vice President die, who becomes President?
(Speaker of the House)
Who elects Congress?
Name the thirteen original states?
(come on you can do it)