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Street scene

Saturday 4/15/23

Yesterday I was working at the desk when a confrontation ensued outside in the street. On account of the building that had to be razed, a part of the street has been shut down for five or six weeks now. It's a one way street that turns onto my street, which is also a one way street--or I should say, turns onto it now, because everything is a one way street with cars going both ways. So the cars have to take turns. Someone has to back up on two streets if there are cars coming from the opposite directions at the same time. It's a mess.

Two guys each refused to be the guy who backed up yesterday. One guy was white, the other guy Black. They had both exited their vehicles in order to better scream at each other for a bit, then the white guy hit upon a solution, and you could tell that he thought it was clever and also believed the inconvenience--even to himself--to be worth it in order to score the point.

"Fine," he announced, like a seven-year-old. "I'll just sit in my car."

As he was walking back to his car, he must have had another idea hit him, because he turned around and as loud and clear as one could wish--if one made such wishes in these matters--he said, "Fuck you."

Well. The other guy didn't like this. He walks up to the car that the "fuck you" guy was now sitting in, to ask a very important question.

"Fuck me?"

He waited--but very briefly--before what had to be coming next. I mean, there was no chance anything else could follow.

"Fuck you," he continued.

It was sort of like a song. A call and response, but by just one person.

Then we reached a curious point in the drama. I have to admit that I hadn't expected what occurred next.

The man in the car said that he had had a bad day, he was overwrought, and he was sorry.

Of course that didn't happen! But imagine if it did?

What occurred was still rather surprising, though.

The man in the car said, "I didn't say 'fuck you.'"

After which I thought, "I'm thirty yards away and three flights up, and I heard you, everyone heard you, let alone this guy you said it to."

The guy outside the car seemed confused. This was understandable.

"You didn't say 'fuck you' to me? You didn't say it?"

He was incredulous. As was I. As was anyone who had witnessed any of this. What had we all misheard? Or was this fellow the master of the gaslight?

Guy in the car said that no, he didn't, his voice all composed, pure choir boy innocence. It was like he was offended that anyone could even level this charge. He wouldn't do that.

Then there was a pause, because what could anyone say? The pause, alas, did not lead to peace.

Because after that little beat, that rest in this fractious composition, what do you think happened?

The guy in the car yelled, "Fuck you!"

I think the other guy had to maybe be somewhere, which is why he got into his car and backed up. I'm pretty sure that was the only reason.

Then the "winner" drove off, and gave his nemesis this stare as he rolled by that I think was meant to be a victor's stare.


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