It’s a good thing I learned from Craig today that “people are OK”, because it gave me something on which to recenter myself on my walk home from BART.
I got on at Downtown Berkeley, casually reading the copy of The Week folded vertically in my left hand. Usually there are plenty of seats but I was leaving work later than usual. I saw an empty one, sat down, and finished “Is the C.I.A. really so stupid?”
“Why you gotta sit next to a guy?”
“Huh?” I’m baffled. I try to understand. “You don’t like sitting next to men?”
Then we enter a noisy tunnel and he shares a treastise I couldn’t make out. The tail I got, “Of all the seats in here you sit next to a guy.”
“All the seats?”
“There’s tons of empty seats and you sit next to a guy.”
I look to my left. “Those empty seats are next to guys too.”
“What about over there.”
“I don’t like facing backwards.” He looks incredulous. “It makes me motion sick.”
Two females exit the train and he’s looking her up and down. “Damn you’re fine!”
I think of asking “do you know the word ‘overcompensation'” but I don’t want him to take it as an affront. He notices that their seat is now vacant. I notice too and think of suggesting he take it. No need, he picks up his bag and swaggers over.
I return to my exquisite newsweekly and let out a puzzled reflective head-cocked laugh.
Gender is crazy. I think about it. At my work a couple years ago, we removed the Gender field from our user signup page after someone complained. Justifiably so. Why should anyone be required to choose from a pop-up list? Male/female? Masculine/feminine? M/F/Other? We struggled and ditched it. Everyone I discussed it with was sympathetic. It’s the Bay Area. We celebrated Gay Pride a couple weekends ago. And here’s this dude who can’t handle sitting next to another human with a penis.
Man, I’m rambling here. If you get a chance, see Boyskout live.
And before I forget, the other reason I repeated the “people are OK” mantra to myself is that while I was crossing Telegraph away from the BART parking lot, this guy accelerated at me when he saw me. That’s happened to me before and I was bewildered. But the other time the driver was a laughing frat punk. This time was a seemingly distinguised older gent in a Mercedes. As it raced at me I saw his hip brown beret.
Wow, am I a blogger now?