Drearyweather: From what I see in the photo, the old guy is putting away a bottle of water back on the cart holder after a sip. Could have been my old mom doing the same. I don't think he should be called pathetic for that.
You're right. I wasn't calling him pathetic for drinking water. It's the whole context that makes it thus.
Check out this other picture I took a few moments later, and you'll see that this poor, pathetic guy was sitting with the same body language for the few minutes my wife and I observed him.
There's a lot that you can't get from the picture alone. You can't smell the smoke from the cigarettes that choke the already stale subway air, or the stench of urine from the homeless people that hang out there at night, or the reek of the sweaty bodies of the thousands of busy commuters noisily walking quickly by on a hot and muggy Budapest afternoon—ignoring him as if he were part of the furniture.
And there he sits: alone, staring at the floor or the back of the JW literature cart, counting time, ignored by endless waves of humanity that pass him by as he sits in front of a poster advertising a rock band with the ironic name of "Queen" and another for a rock version of an opera commercializing Jesus Christ as a "Szupersztar."
No one stops to talk to him or take his literature. My wife and I were the only ones that even seemed to notice him (for obvious reasons). Everyone is too occupied with their own mundane concerns to give him the time of day. They are busy trying to get home—exhausted from their day at work—or going to meet friends or family or wherever they are off to. Wherever it is they are coming from or going to, once thing is certain: they do not care about him or his irrelevant little cult or its irrelevant little message.
That's why I said he is pathetic. The whole thing is pathetic. Very pathetic. Very.