bj's gay porno-crazed ramblings
Thursday, September 12, 2002
I wind up going for the 2-4-1 beer, but stay long enough only to have the first beer, and the chip entitling me for another stays in my pocket, unused. Across the street, at The Cock, the dense crowd seems more drugged-out than usual. I have a joint stuffed somewhere in a pocket, but the music, the "vibe" here doesn't feel right. Everyone is glassy-eyed, a few silly dancers seem to only bump into me, not into the rest of the crowd. I don't stay long, I ride aimlessly towards my home, and it's not long before I am asleep.
In the morning I woke up for only a few minutes around 10 am, long enough to hear that the world was very quiet, a cool breeze from the window urging me to go back to sleep, and I did. Maybe an hour later I wake, the kids in the playground nearby making their usual noises, screams and laughter, very reassuring. Coffee, blog-skimming, laundry, and later a bike ride just around the park nearby, I took it easy, enjoyed the relative quiet this part of town affords. In the back of my head I knew there was lots of activity elsewhere, the occasional plane or helicopter straying way over east, above.
Worked scheduled for 6, I got there my usual 15 minutes early. It was slow for the first hour and a half, something that was expected. Suddenly it got busy, and I was unable to quietly contemplate, greatful for that. At one point a woman with a large grinning face starts to order, prefaced with "I have a question" Apparenlty she wants a la carte what we only serve as a meal, I explain the menu a bit, she asks for suggestions, consults with her tall, but unhelpful husband, I keep smiling (the computer screen actually says SMILE! SMILE! SMILE! on it in case we forget). She orders something finally, which of course involves making several more decisions, she hands over money, I smilingly hand her change, she asks for one of the bottled sodas. As I hand it to her, and some more change, she smiles widely and says "thank you for being so patient with me, it's been a long day, 12 hours at Ground Zero." I finally look beyond her face, and take in the flag pin on her shirt, the surprisingly inoffensive patriotic t-shirt, her husband is wearing an FDNY memorial baseball style cap, and some Veterans t-shirt. I smile more genuinely now, nodding quietly towards her, my eyes - no, you are at work, hold it in.... I wait for their order, it seems to have quieted down, and I look them over. They look like the "ugly Americans" that you see on the tour busses, or in foreign capitals, with loud clothing and phrase books. But I am also seeing their eyes, and I only see 2 other humans, and am warmed by their tired eyes. When the order is ready, she isn't in the store, but he is, I hand it to him, wish him a goodnight, and he inspects the inside of the bag breifly, heads to the side counter and looks to be struggling with hot sauce. I offer one of our small pre-wrapped containers, advising it might be easier for him, he smiles, thanks me, takes it as he allows our eyes to meet only briefly. I am grateful to have seen just two of them, and not a mass on some television screen. No doubt very different from me, but a subtle, welcome reminder of my own values, treating people as individuals, not dismissing them because of looks or perceived differences, and all that crap. I head over to the counter and straighten out the newspapers left there, N Y Times headlines screaming for my attention, I bury them under some local, less obvious distraction.