Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Have A Nice Day


"Get the fuck out of my way, " he says to me,
only after I have stopped walking, he has passed me on the small sliver of space to my right and I am looking at him with a blank expression, calmly waiting for him to pass.
My first reaction is to laugh at the little man with flaming red hair who I am towering over.
I begin to open my mouth and stop as I have just been reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a man who snapped and went on a shooting rampage in Michigan, killing three teenagers who had been swimming on a hot summer day.
He looks slightly unstable but his comment seemed more like a response to my stopping rather than an offensive tactic to get me to move.
I wanted to tell him that clearly he knows how to speak, and that a simple "Excuse me," would have done, but this is New York and this minor infraction pales in comparison to the scene Mike and I witnessed the other day.
A Latina woman and her child got on the subway and whether it was on purpose or not, she pushed a black woman so she could secure a seat for her son.
The black woman shoved her back.
The mother was taken by surprise and asked the woman why she pushed her,
which unleashed a fury in this black woman.
"Yeah, I pushed you. Don't fucking push me."
The mother explained that she didn't see her.
The black woman shoved her again and then said,
"You're not even fucking legal."
She then went on a tirade about how illegal immigrants and "homos" are ruining this "fucking" country.
"Pinche, puto tu madre!" she went on. "There's something you can understand."
A young man laughed, fueling the woman's fire. She now had an audience that approved.
A white woman spoke up and told the woman not to speak like that in front of a child, but the woman called her a fat bitch and told her to shut the fuck up.
When the black woman stepped off the subway followed by the laughing young man, the car went quiet.
The mother stood, with her eyes downcast as her son sat on a seat dangling his legs below.
The white woman looked like she was on the verge of tears and for a moment it seemed as if we all took a collective breath.
We had all been held hostage to this woman's sickness, forced to listen to her anger, but knowing that silence was the only thing that would get this woman off the train.
I caught myself wondering when the last time this woman had been touched tenderly.
I don't know why.
It seemed like she would break someone's arm if they offered her a hug, maybe even bite.
I looked at the Latina mother and wanted to tell her that I was sorry I didn't speak up, but she looked as if she wanted to disappear
and maybe we all wanted to.
Last night I had a dream that I was in a movie theatre trying to convince Mike to leave because I didn't like the movie and someone told me to "shove it up my ass,"
to which i quipped back, "go fuck yourself!"
it's hot in new york right now.
it's almost as if we've all been bracing for this scorching summer that has yet to rear its head but something about the anticipation of it almost seems worse
like a jack n box wound too tight, waiting for the last turn to spring it lose into the world.
now its finally hot and humid but the mounting tension of the past few months makes it much hotter than it is.
i think new yorkers should get a day off just for living in new york.
like Canada's Boxing Day or like a Labor Day for city dwellers
Cause right now, it looks like we could all use a day to cool off.

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