Street Talk

It's amazing how chatty people in this city can be to virtual. In the last two days, I've had maybe four short conversations with people I never met before, including one (minor) fight that's been rankling me ever since it happened yesterday morning.

I was walking down the sidewalk, looking at my i-pod to figure out how to listen to a podcast when I heard a woman going, Hello...Hello! I looked up and saw this lady on a bike with a child trying to get my attention because she was riding on the sidewalk and didn't want me to run into her. The same exact thing happened the day before with her at around the same spot, with her telling me to essentially move out of the way. I usually don't talk back to people, but I said, You're supposed to be riding on the street though. She said, I have a kid. All of this was said in passing, but it irritated me to no end for most of the rest of my walk to the subway, you know, as I was trying out sassy responses to her statement, like, Oh, okay, you're exempt from the law then. Or, It's still illegal! Or, Not my problem! Or, Find another way to get your kid to school. Nothing good. But really, why does she not have to obey the law? Because if every parent decided that they had the right to ride their bikes on the sidewalk, there'd be a lot more confusion and accidents. And then I thought how unreasonable I was being, that I don't know her life at all, maybe she's a single mom whose car just go repossessed and she has no other recourse to get her kid to school. I thought, WWOD? (What would Obama do?). He would say that we all must try to have compassion for one another and put aside petty differences. But I love my petty differences. They are hard to let go of.

That same morning, I rummaged through a stack of books someone had left out, taking And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts and Crash by J.G. Ballard. In case you've never heard of the first book, it's a piece of investigative journalism published in 1987 about the spread on the AIDS epidemic. Anyway, I had the books out next to me on the bench waiting for the train and a guy walked by and said, "Oh, that is such a sad book!" I said, "I know, I've read it before. But it's really interesting."

Today, I stopped to pet a little white dog and the dog walker said, Omigod, your eyes are so beautiful! She then had her dog, Zeke, perform three tricks for me (sit, shake, and speak). I said, "Oh, you just made my day!" (An exaggeration, but I had to make up for the negativity from the previous morning.