Thursday, September 3, 2009
*The following is a true story. Very little, if at all, was altered in this depiction.
Riding public transportation gives you a bird’s eye view of the city. The desolate areas where the abandoned properties outnumber the occupied ones. The bustling shopping districts infused with all the hustle and bustle one needs to feel connected to their fellow citizens. And of course, it brings the plight of the common man to the forefront of your mind. On one particular train you may find a construction worker with hard hat and lunch-pail in hand, a white-haired grandmother of twelve clad in a McDonald’s uniform resenting the fact that Social Security alone doesn’t make ends meet, or if you were on my train one afternoon last week, you may have witnessed an incident that, while I can’t say it surprises me, fill me with an indescribable feeling few things could equal.
Picture this. A mother steers her two-seater stroller onto an already packed rush-hour train. She finds an empty seat to unload her bags and self. The stroller, carrying toddlers old enough to walk, blocks the aisle while Mom decides to start eating a cheesesteak one can only imagine came from a street vendor. The train chugs along to one stop, and then the next. A woman in a long sari-like dress and Cleopatra-like wig boards. Her lacquered day-glo acrylic nails catch many an eye. Mom calls Cleo by name. The two women embrace, even with the stroller between them. Cleo walks a one third of the way down the car while catching up with her old friend. Mom needs to get her hair done, can Cleo fit her in next week? How’s the twin’s daddy, Cleo questions. He’s good, about to be out for good behavior.
Now imagine me, like most riders in that car, completely taken aback. Do these women have no decorum? No tact? No damn sense? Why would one shout the details of one’s life across a busy public place? Mom catches my eye, or I hers. And I hold it for a second. Not deliberately mind you, merely a curiosity I could not shake. And then I regret it most instantly.
Mom is angered. Apparently she takes my eye contact as war. Stupid fat bitch. Ignorant ass cunt. I am assaulted with these mumbled accusations. And I can’t help but laugh out loud. Obviously this woman doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Ignorant, man what a concept. Hello Pot, Hello Kettle. Ignorant indeed.