Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Urban Chit-Chat

Walking home from the coffeeshop a few minutes ago, I
had an interesting, if brief, exchange with a staggering man
wearing a strangely-striped windbreaker and thick, old-
person style sunglasses. This last detail is perhaps im-
portant, since it was dark out. He came toddling down the
road towards me, and whatever menace he might have
wished to convey was undercut by the fact that he was
about six inches shorter than me, fifteen years older
than me, and unable to move very far without a lamp-
post or parking sign to cling to. Here’s what we discussed:

HIM: Hey. Hey. Hey.

ME: Hello. How are you?

HIM: What’s up? What’s up, man?

ME: Oh, not much.

HIM: You gonna get home safe tonight?

ME: I expect so.

HIM: I’m a killer, you know.

ME: Alright.

HIM: What’s up?

ME: Not much.

HIM: Huh? What's that? What you saying?

ME: Not much.

HIM: Shit.

By this time, I was already about ten yards on down the
block (I’ve been doing the inner-city living thing for years,
so I know you don’t stop to converse with crazy, chemically-
altered street people with sunglasses on in the dark). He was
still making sounds behind me so, when I felt I was far enough
away, I looked back and he was dangling from a signpost,
swearing obscurely at me, doing these broad, drunken ges-
tures that I suppose were intended to be threatening.

I guess I didn’t make a new friend tonight.