Wednesday, December 13, 2006

septa lessons, again

it wasn't my usual bus stop. i was there because i realized after work that i needed to buy some tokens for the next day, which took me up the street to another stop on busy market street. there were already a few people there, waiting with their shopping bags or getting off from work. a bus came, a bus left, and then there were only two - an old man and me. i heard somebody hollering and looked away from my gaze down the street to see if my bus was coming.

there was a group of boys - young men, really - walking together down the street, maybe about three or four of them. as they were walking, a man was hollering, "young baw! yo! that's my young baw!!! hey man, how you doin'. my young baw!" (to those not fluent in philly-ese, the guy was saying something to the effect of, hey, it's my peoples/friend/homie. "baw"="boy". now you know.) there were smiles all around, and the older guy gripped up the youngin like he hadn't seen him in a long time. though not involved, i smiled too. i love public displays of affection (especially among brothas) , even if they are loud. i noticed that the young dude didn't really seem to recognize the man who was greeting him, but i guess he figured, hey, no harm done. the boys continued on.

so did the loud man, who was walking in my direction.

there were two women sitting on a bench not far from me, having a smoke together and talking. they looked like they had been shopping and were taking a break. the loud man approached them and bent down from the waist to their level on the bench so that his face was on level with theirs. his face was less than two feet from theirs.

"hey, how you doing!" he boomed.

i couldn't see their faces from my vantage point, but i was guessing that he didn't know them, and that they didn't know him. they were white, in another age group, and were obviously together. my guess? he got a blank stare from the both of them.

the second time he greeted them, it was as if he was reproaching them for their rudeness.

"hel-lo! how are yooouuu! happy holl-idays!"

he got some sign of life from them at that point, and he went on talking to them. i looked down the street to see if my bus was coming. chances were, if he was trying to move his way up the block, i was next, and i really didn't feel like the bull isht. i was hoping the bus would come before i wound up arguing with him.

suddenly my attention was grabbed back from looking for the bus:

"well, fcuk you then!" as he walked away, backwards from the women.

"no, fcuk you!"

"fcuk you!"

"i'm not the one, walking down the street, begging people for isht!"

"i ain't beg you for nothin, i asked you! you racist bitch!"

"why do i have to be racist 'cause i didn't let you smoke on my cigarette! go get your own!" as her girlfriend picks up her shopping bag and pleads with her, wordlessly, to shut up and come walk with her away from the bench.

"fcuk you!"

"fcuk YOU!"

he walked away. they walked away.

my bus came, and i looked incredulously at the old man who had been standing there when i arrived. his facial expression remained unchanged. i wonder, was that a function of being old and having seen much, or was it just 'cause he's used to seeing stuff like that?