This variety of work—this toil—often brings with it a particular kind of mindfulness. These characters aren’t concerned with “seizing the day” or “living life to the fullest” or any other hackneyed aphorism of self-help culture; they’re too busy trying to pay their bills. But the long hours on their feet, making sandwiches or serving chicken platters to ungrateful wedding guests, mean they have the capacity to savor those rare moments of workaday serenity: the last sparklers fading behind departing revelers on a balmy summer night, or a brilliant stag glimpsed in the woods behind a rundown apartment complex. Such moments are here and gone, but that is part of the beauty, too, when your eyes are open.


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