Thursday, October 26, 2006

The man from UNCLE

Yesterday night, 6:45 pm. I'm walking down LaGuardia Place and I see two men, in their sixties I would say, coming toward me. They look like they could be anybody's uncle. Just two older guys talking maybe a little loud. Not shabbily dressed, not wearing track suits or looking drunk or signifiying anything threatening. But one of them, a short, round, bald, uncle-looking kind of guy, just starts throwing garbage on the street, littering to his heart's content as he walks along. Now, had he looked like he belonged to the Yakuza or the Russian Mafia or Tony Soprano's entourage, I'd kept my mouth shut. But he looked like an uncle and I was in no mood to see him blight my neighborhood. So I say to him: "hey, don't throw stuff on the floor" (my English fails me when I most need it). He says to me: "It's for you". So then I say, as I continue walking by: "I live in this neighborhood, you fucking pig". And then Uncle turns around menacingly towards me and screams at the top of his lungs something to the effect that he's going to fucking rip me apart if I don't like it. Luckily, my sense of self-preservation kicked in and I continued walking in the opposite direction, a tad more briskly, not waiting to find out if he meant to deliver on his promise.
As my blood boiled and my adrenaline rushed, something made me not turn around and taunt him further, and I guess it was the fleeting impression that he may just take out a gun and shoot me, or knife me or hit me. I thought of getting the license plates of the car they were getting into and file a complaint, but I didn't dare look back.
I find it shocking that, for Uncle, the fact that I was a woman made no difference to his boorishness. He seemed pretty sincere about fucking me up. Obviously, a guy who throws garbage on the street as if he was throwing himself a ticker tape parade has not been schooled on the finer points of civilized behavior. But still. What animals do we have in our midst.

1 comment:

  1. franny4:44 PM

    Its amazing how the city in an instant can turn ugly, having spent the formative teenage years there and walking around at all sorts of hours, I can safely say, that had you looked at the plates, they would have likely been from outside the city.

    Most people who come into the city can't handle the sheer frenetic energy that makes new yorkers forces of natuture. Or maybe when confronted with the sheer level of great stuff, they feel overcome with envy. So what do they do? they adopt a belligerent Vegas like attitude toward our fair city with a bully's wink and nod "what happens in NYC stays in NYC." Except when they get drunk again and brag about their exploits when they were in NY, hurling about further evidence of their low placement on the evolutionary scale.

    Back then we called folks who acted like apes in our town; cromags, knuckle draggers, etc...It never shut them up, but it did keep our fear at bay. Of course after saying that, we also walked faster and eventually ran just for the sheer joy of being younger, faster and cooler.