Saturday, October 13, 2012
The SandwichIt was a little after 2 am. I was walking in Dundee, looking forward to getting home to enjoy my late night sandwich from Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob, and feeling good from a night of successfully funny improvisational comedy and equally enjoyable camaraderie with friends.
I crossed Underwood on the way toward my parked car. I was hoping that no one had opted to take advantage of the open driver's side window to steal any of the myriad items strewn and piled in the back seat. I did not want to be responsible for saddling anyone else with the responsibility of owning an item from that collection of odds and ends that had been growing like a landfill for the last year. The window was only left open because it is easier to reach in through it and open the driver's side door that way than it is to crawl across the passenger side, and no longer at all possible to do it using the external handle.
Some of the items in the back seat might be worth a thief's effort, like the game of Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers that's somewhere in there, or the three or four pair of shoes I assume must be there in their entirety because I can usually see one representative of each set poking out in random places.
Some items I almost wish would be stolen because only theft can save a hoarder from herself. I haven't been able to bring myself to throw away the Tastefully Simple gift box I bought several years ago and I don't have anyone in my life for whom I feel the exact mix of veiled contempt such that I would gift expensive and expired foods to them. The obvious answer is to continue carrying it around in my vehicle and to move it from one vehicle to the next when the first one breaks beyond repair. Only a theft or a fire can break that cycle.
There is also a set of purple butterfly wings that I wore a few months ago to a theme party. Having been left in the pile, they are getting tattered. I admit I am tickled at the thought of pinning a note to them that says "Take these broken wings."
I was halfway across Underwood and most of the way through this reverie when I heard a voice yelling, "What's wrong with you, dick?"
Curious to find out who was being berated loudly at 2 in the morning on a deserted street and why, I turned around and found an off-duty cab driver yelling at me. Apparently, I was the dick.
Seeing that I had acknowledged him, he yelled again "I almost fucking hit you! Watch where the fuck you're going!"
Confused, I looked down to confirm that I was using the crosswalk, and looked up to confirm I was crossing with the light. Both seemed true. The years spent softening the sharp edges of my Brooklyn girl attitude melted away as I shouted right back at him, "I have the fucking light, you ass!"
Now this is the part that truly flummoxes me. He countered with, "It's a fucking STOP sign!"
I had no comeback for this because I was well and truly thrown. Was I wrong when I checked the light? Was it doing that thing that lights do at some intersections late at night and flashing a different set of instructions than the daytime programming? Was the light showing instructions for me to go while it flashed red to him? In the time it took me to survey all of this and determine that I still believed I had the right of way, he had already turned right and driven Dodgeward.
He was gone and with him he took the opportunity for me to determine what he had based his belief that he had a stop sign on, and why that would give him the right of way when there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk. He had interrupted my train of thought, introduced a ridiculous premise, and left without allowing me the satisfaction of telling him off. He had removed the ability to observe the full extent of his insanity. He had even planted a seed of uncertainty, such that even now I am itching to go back and examine the area to try to figure out what the hell he was talking about.
I resumed crossing the empty street, deflated and annoyed. I reached through my window and opened my door, and got in the car. The smell of the food from Amsterdam was pleasant, and mostly replaced the smell of whatever is living beneath the back seat stuff. I plugged my phone charger in and connected the audio, mostly from force of habit. I didn't think I'd be in the mood to listen to my audiobook on the way home, and expected that it would take arrival at my apartment and consumption of lamb meat and spicy sauce to restore my previous level of happiness.
The knock on my window startled me. I looked up to see if it was Cabbie McFuckerson, but it wasn't. (For the record, I doubt that was actually his name anyway. The cab driver neither looked nor sounded Scottish.)
The person at the passenger side window might have been someone I knew. I know a lot of people in this town. To prevent the risk of snubbing someone whom I should greet, I pressed the button to allow the window to open enough to hear what he had to say. He asked, "Can you give me a ride home?"
Given that I was still in Brooklyn mode, I didn't even consider this for a second. Midwestern Jess might hesitate and weigh the probability of risk to her safety against the benefit of doing a good deed for a person. Brooklyn Jess immediately thought, "Fuck no."
Midwestern Jess would eventually have caught up with Brooklyn Jess on the next sentence, however. He finished with "It's just two blocks." The calculations came without effort:
- If he could walk his own happy ass to Beer and Loathing to drink copious amounts of alcohol loudly with his bros, he could wobble back under his own steam too.
- If it was some sort of come-on, that meant he thought he was going to be able to break the ice within two blocks and it would be something on the order of "You're really nice, want to come inside? I have some PBR in the dorm fridge I keep in my bedroom and my roommates can sleep through anything." The night was surreal enough already.
- That left murdering rapist as the last remaining option. Even if he were off duty and I were not an intended victim, I do not give aid and succor to murdering rapists. It's the principle of the thing.
I drove home from the Twilight Zone.
Posted by Jess at 10/13/2012 01:06:00 PM ::