WHAT SHE WAS


As I walked her I had to wonder if she was really sight-impaired or just having fun. Sick fun, but judging from the look on her tiny face — this old woman was having an evil sort of fun that made me laugh and shake my head.

Tiny and at least 80, this little lady bustled down the subway platform swatting her vision-impaired cane at just about every set of feet she could catch. Not hard enough to hurt and certainly not hard enough to knock anyone down — but it was enough to startle and make people jump out of her way.

I suspected she wasn’t blind because she never touched a child or an elderly person. No. This little lady seemed to have her sights set on yuppies and people who just seem to want to mow others to be first in the que for the trains. And, she had a sly and quiet little smile on her face when she made it to the platform.

One of the yuppie dudes called out, “Whoa there, Nelly or we’re gonna have to toss ya to the rails!” He laughed. She turned and laughed revealing a mouth with only a couple of teeth.

Somehow, the whole thing struck me as oddly cute and funny.

I related this to someone. They, too, laughed. And then the person started the following conversation with me:

“Matty, only you!”

“It was just so off the wall I had to laugh!”

“So, what was she?”

“Huh?”

“What was she?”

“Well, I really don’t think she was blind…”

“No. Was she black, Chinese or Mexican?”

“What?”

“I was just curious about her ethnicity. Sounds Chinese or Mexican to me.”

Quite honestly I had not noticed, but I answered by saying:

“She was white and I don’t see how race matters.”

“Of course it matters. I can’t believe a white person would do such a thing!”

“Are you for real?!?!”

The person became very embarrassed and tried to change the subject. I excused myself. I will never think of this person the same again.

…I found myself in want of a cane at that exact moment.

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June 12, 2007. Uncategorized.

16 Comments

  1. Daniel replied:

    I have a big stick you can borrow.

  2. Kris replied:

    I would have been hysterical just watching that woman cane people around haha.

    Don’t you have a stick you carry around with ya!? Or is that a gun?

  3. ing replied:

    That was a strange question, and obviously someone is also making assumptions about you, too, that you’re part of a larger club with it’s own in-jokes and cultural standards. Someone doesn’t realize that assigning behaviors oppresses all of us, because our behaviors are motivated by — who knows what? Someone probably never expresses their true feelings and makes it difficult for others around them to do so as well. Someone is afraid of human-ness.

    It’s hard to begin every sentence with “someone”. Sigh.

    I’m blogging before work. I’ve got to stop doing that!

  4. Me replied:

    People are funny [and often times, unpredictable], aren’t they?

  5. Minge replied:

    I think you should write porno.

  6. Kevin replied:

    I wondered where Grandma ended up …

  7. karyn replied:

    God, I love you.

  8. matty03 replied:

    Daniel – I’ve heard about your big stick! I didn’t know you “lent” it out. (comic drum bump here) lol!

    Kris – LOL! It was funny, but upsetting to me to interact with this other person. i know. i understand. …it seems to be impossible for humans to not be racist on some level, but to have someone think i would ever even take part in such a conversation made me ill.

    um, Kris, that is not a gun in my pocket. I’m just glad to see you and Daniel.

  9. matty03 replied:

    Ing! Oh my God! You totally summed up what I just tried to articulate in my response to Kris’ comment! Thanks! I love blogging before work as I ponder my cup of cream of wheat!

  10. matty03 replied:

    Me – Yes, you are correct. I guess that is one of the things that makes us people interesting to watch but not always so much fun to be around! lol!

    Minge – You know, I tried. I was told my erotica was too cerebral. …however, I did do well in the fun world of phone sex for a brief while in the very early 90’s as a desperate part time job. I wrote about it. It was too cerebral. sigh.

  11. matty03 replied:

    Kevin – Well, Grandma seemed to be on her way to Oakland from downtown San Francisco. She was a trip!

    Karyn! You are so sweet! I love you, too! Sending you a big hug!

  12. Meredith replied:

    What the?! That’s some crazy ass synaptic misfire. I suppose her gender and the colour of her stockings played into it as well? Hispanics are 9 times as likely to wack people with their canes as white folk? I love Ings’s reply. Couldn’t have said it better.
    Excuse me while I pick the grass from my teeth and tune up my banjo.
    Which, come to think of it, is making an assumption about a group of people and assigning a stereotype as well… but, um, well living here in this fishbowl it’s easy to do.
    Actually, I think on my next trip to Vancouver I’m going to get me a cane. It’ll be entertaining. And get me good seats on the bus. 😉

  13. Pants replied:

    I cannot wait to be old.

  14. matty replied:

    Lovely Meredith — I agree! …and, that whole banjo thing. ….well, there are some truth to certain stereotypes. lessons to be learned from Ned Beatty and Burt Reynolds! “…Squeal!”

    Pants – Oh, boy! Yes! We are in for a good old time!!!!

  15. jungle jane replied:

    What an odd question!! I’m sure old people of all races are cranky. I can’t wait to be old – i’m going to be a complete bastard. I will also make sure I spend most of my day yapping about the war to young people. I’ll also try to gross them out by flirting seductively with 20-something men.

  16. matty03 replied:

    Jungle Jane! I know! And, I agree! Maybe, when I am old I will also flirt with 20-something men! …that’ll really creep ’em out!

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