Sunday, August 21, 2005

Save your 'Hi'

This morning I stepped up to the bus stop, as I do about five days a week, and checked the schedule for the next bus. Headed my way was a quasi-homeless looking black dude I'd seen around the block a few times. I know he's not homeless, because he goes in and out of a pretty nice house across from the bus stop. But he's got the powderkeg look that says "try me," the pimp limp and the dischevelled style that many homeless affect to great effect.

So he's coming up to me this morning and I think, "Alright, neighborhood dude has a question for me." Though I think the actual Onion tag would've been closer to "Area Nut Offers Threat, Wisdom."

Eyeballing me at a few paces, he says, "Huh?" Sort of as if I hadn't responded to a previous querie. Since I hadn't heard anything prior, I looked back and greeted him with a, "Hey." His response to this, perhaps appropriately? was "Fuck you."

Beat that logic. I'm not positive my "Hey" came off as an insult, but I know enough to cede fair ground to the wandering not-homeless guy, so I just walked to the part of the curb where I sit to wait for the bus. One must pick one's battles, indeed, and I wasn't headed into battle with some neighborhood character on a Sunday morning.

He lumbered off down the block on one of his aimless patrols and I sat down to read "Wired" magazine. The thought dawned on me today that you can cover just about everything you need to with subscriptions to "Wired" and "New Yorker" magazine. Coast to coast, new school to old, technology to technique. Dig both. And dig that as I aimed to engage myself in an interview with Jon Stewart, the thought came that my reading material illustrated the gap between me and not-homeless pretty well. Well enough to rationalize our exchange, anyway, whether that gap spans white to black, privileged to disenfranchised, or sane to unstable.

It's a moot point whether or not the thought holds any validity; probably just the psyche in overdrive spinning tales to explain. I doubt not-homeless has any such sociological premeditations on the moment. Halfway down the block, the dude turned and said, "Save your 'Hi.'"

I suppose I will.

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