Friday, August 12, 2011

Let's Make a Night of It!

I need to pack.  I also need to clean the kitchen, wash the dishes, do a number on the cat box, change my bed sheets and put the laundry away.  I've been thus thwarted all day so I decided to go to dance anyway.  And now, write this.

The first thing I noticed as I boarded the number 66 was a body lying across the aisle.  I stopped and stared and heard a few titters among the onlookers.  This was a show they'd been enjoying at every stop.  I decided that between standing and staring or sitting beyond the body, the latter was preferable.  So I walked down the aisle and purposefully stepped over the torso semi-dressed in navy.

I say "semi-dressed" because as I turned to take my seat I was treated to an unwelcome view of most of this man's ass.  No, I couldn't see this persons's face, but judging by the ass and pot belly it seemed safe to say the person was male.  I watched reactions as others boarded the bus feeling ill at ease that we were all assuming this person was passed out from alcohol and not that maybe he'd had a heart attack. "Noooo, he's passed out from being too damn drunk" people assured me.  And I trusted that they knew more about 'too damn drunk' than I do.

On my way home I decided to wait for the trusty 66 at the stop west of Rhythm.  It isn't quite as close but I had time to kill and wanted a change.  A short man in his early 30s stepped around the corner with a cane and started to try to engage me in conversation.

"Hey, you dun mine if I... got any... I seem to have... ???"  He started many questions at once but seemed unable to finish them.

He asked if the bus was still running.  Looking at the bus just behind him on the other side of the street I assured him it was.  He said something about losing his bus pass, mumbled something else, and generally blathered.  The next thing I could make out of his words was "you know what a faker is?  I'm a faker" as he pulled a plastic folder out of his pocket and got his bus pass out of it.

He continued to regale me with statements about how he never made it past the 9th, 8th grade, but damn there were some fine looking chicks in his class and they threw him out for being a gang member.  Do I want to see a cane dance?  Do I know who Dr. Dre is?  Do I know who Ice Cube is?  He doesn't like heights so he don't want to, you know... elevation? and heights?  Yeah, no, don't want to be... He's not drunk, or high.  Indians you know, I mean they drink a lot of stuff... water... soda... iced tea... Do I know Ice-T?  But he never made it past 9th, 8th grade.  Have I ever met a wet native american before?  A dumb Indian?  They threw him out ... well, it was discrimination cuz he's a gang member.  Have I ever seen a gang member before?  Why am I... what?  it's raining?  Do I want to go to a wet concert with him?  Can he have my number?  Can he use my phone to call his mother?  Aw dang, he's like 31 and never asked someone for her number before and ... now... she said no.  He's a wet Indian.  He's like not into... like smacking girls and stuff... he's into you know, intelligent girls.  Is this gonna work?  This ... see, I give you my number and you give me yours...

In the midst of this he threw his cane in the garbage can.  He proceeded to get on the bus after me.  I stood close to the night security officer.  I was very relieved when he got off two stops before mine.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Do Not Smile

The man at the back of the bus has a black tattoo on his neck.  I unconsciously try to figure out what the image is as my brain chews on other sensory information.

"Hey!  Smile; you're beautiful" the man calls to me.

I hadn't been aware of doing anything particular with my face, although I suppose he singled me out because I was looking the way of his tattoo.  I did not find his comment creepy.  I can see where I could easily have felt so, but I didn't.  I tried hard not to smile from embarrassment.  To smile when commanded to do so feels insulting somehow.  It feels like giving acknowledgement to the idea that another has power over me, that I didn't agree to give.

However, I did say "thank you" and allowed, not so much a smile as a softening to occur in his general direction.  I didn't want him to have further purpose in engaging me.

What I did find creepy was the man sitting next to him who started to speculate on why I might not be smiling.  I heard as much as "she's just pretending to be living with some guy" before I forcibly excluded their conversation from my ears by focusing on the hum of the bus.

Why do you need to make up stories about me and why you don't get the response you want from me?  Why must it revolve around a situation that I'm in and not your choice of how to interact with me?  I have answers to these questions; but the answers I can think of make it sad, a sad thing of the world and of you.