Stroll through the hub of Cambridge on any given weekend and you are likely to see one — perhaps draped in white like an angel, maybe perched in a slightly odd position, most certainly anchored in one place and one pose. Motionless. For hours. For those who find challenge in stillness, it must be a meditation of the mind. For those who pass by, well, it's a concept that catches the eye. People slow. Some linger. Many point.
But when the human statue is Shaquille O'Neal, people gather. And in close proximity.
I'm sorry to say that I was not among those who walked past the stationary Celtics star Thursday afternoon. Although, from the photos and video all over the Internet and television, plenty of people from a plethora of places did. Just another one of the joys of Harvard Square.
Even a gentleman from Germany was enthralled with Shaq's posturing. He, like so many others, wanted a photo. How many do you think were captured? I'd venture to say thousands, given that anyone who happened on O'Neal with a cell phone in hand had a photo op.
The "appearance" was one O'Neal had mentioned several weeks back, and his "performance" made good on the statement. And, it most certainly created a stir. But in such a simple way. Shaq didn't do anything but sit. OK, sometimes the 15-time NBA All-Star couldn't help but crack a smile, but if you asked all those bustling around him, for close to an hour, he just sat. Sure, the surrounding — and expected — hoopla is an indicator of his stardom, but what he did is also humorous in its simplicity.
When's the last time you sat motionless? New York may be aptly named the "City that Never Sleeps," but the whole world barely pauses for a breather these days. Stillness is hard to come by. Even when it's the center of attention.