Coming back from Spike's, all smoked loose and limber, I sit back in my hard,plastic seat on the el train, look down to make sure that I am not putting my feet into anything sticky or gross, pull out the notebook with the writing I am working on, and prepare for a trip up north to the morse stop. A chinese woman sits down beside me, in a red dress with huge yellow flowers, rather barrel shaped, fifty some. We ride quietly for a few minutes, then a commotion in my periphery vision makes me look up from my notes and I see the woman jump up all excited and scared and run to the other end of the train.
A huge black guy had decided to sit down in the middle of the aisle, right beside her -- even though there were plenty of empty seats all around.
I kind of keep my eye on him, but I ain't moving just because some nut is sitting in the aisle. I once walked by four people fighting with knives to get through an el station -- just said 'excuse me' a lot and the combantants parted. Others who were waiting to get into the train station slowly followed down a path that the fighters made through their little battle. I was just that blaise when I drove cab... immortal.
The crazy acting guy gets up at the next stop and lumbers off.
Sitting in front of me is a very white woman in a blue dress with blue eyes and blonde hair and a slim, gym--tortured body, she turns to me and says all quiet and conspiratorially, "This is why I always take the metra."
I am sure that she looked around to make sure there were no minorities in ear shot -- and of course when I checked, there were none.
The guy behind me speaks up, "Yea, I won't take this thing at night. You run into them like that."
I interrupt and tell them, "When I used to drive cab, I fearlessly took the train at all hours of day and night, and I saw a lot of shit, but I never once had a problem."
They are silent a second, then the woman speaks to the guy behind me with the short hair and white white manner, "Yea, well, you won't see me on the train again."
Me the long haired guy with the scraggly beard scribbling notes who has called himself 'fearless,' is then ignored as they chat on throughout the rest of the train ride. I pretend that my notes have taken all of my attention, but inside I am kind of seething over their stupid ass rascist attitudes... If they would just read a fucking little bit, they would discover there is almost no crime on the train anymore -- it is safer than hell, but no, they live on little myths -- black guys are dangerous is one of them, and this one masks the truth that the trains are safe.... As I listened to them infer how much better they were for not taking a train, with their light talk of how they never would be there if their cars hadn't broke down... my rising blood pressure began to make my head pound with their every word. All the while I am thinking... I WISH I WAS BLACK SO I COULD KICK THESE HONKEY'S ASSES!!!
copywrite 2006 john scott ridgway