Leaving the apartment last week, on the way to the Academy award ceremony, this kid is blocking the doorway. I ask Barbara to knock on the door to give him a chance to get out of the way and he does, by moving a half inch to the right, barely enough room for Barbara to get through and no where near enough room for me to get the duffle bag and back pack on my back through. I give him the customary “Scuse me” and he throws back the ‘dazed & confused’ look teenagers love to give in these situations.
My response: A look back that says “You heard me the first time, get out of my way or I will walk straight through your 105 lb ass and not think twice about it”
His response (after moving out of my way): ‘You don’t know me’ tinged with this “How do you like them apples?” after tone
PLAIN FACT RESPONSE: I know you moved out my way
DISARMING RESPONSE: My bad. All good.
HARD CORE RESPONSE: You think you know me?
As this is going through my head, so is this: Two fellas to my right that may or may not know this dude. Barbara in front of me in the way of said two fellas. This dude with the flippant attitude in front of me, about 5’8” not looking too stocky but with a baggy jacket that means he could have just about anything on him. And this fact, I have an award ceremony to attend which will require me to have my chi in its most serene state.
ACTUAL RESPONSE: I walked away without looking at him hard or throwing back any last second snipes.
You know I was burnt on the train heading to the city, right? The alpha male in me wanted to stand ground till money knew that a teenage knucklehead who weighs about the same as my left arm doesn’t faze me for a second. The wiseass in me wanted to keep pushing him in front of his peers cuz I knew in my heart that he wasn’t down to throw a punch. For the record, there is no hardcore homeboy inside of me that wanted to throw the first punch either but personal history says I won’t back away from a punch thrown.
All this is exactly how I felt at the Academy dinner where some of the craziest conversation is going on around me and Barbara. Talk of mail order brides, quaint memories of military fathers and even quainter talk of the gentle children playing piano in the third world.
“I woulda told all them motherfuckers to shut the fuck up,” is a common reaction I got. But much like the kid who wants me to throw the first punch, who wants the world to justify his inner angst and depression, I can’t bring myself to fulfilling these folks expectations of me. Been there, done that.
I think it was Hemingway that said “Love it or hate it, there is one thing about a bullfight, you always want to see how it ends.”
That’s me in a nutshell. I have to see where these
progressive thinkers are going and thankful that I don’t live in that world. Just like driving by a spectacular car wreck that has nothing to do with me while mouthing a little prayer and going on about my days.