The street in front was packed, jammed. People in cars further uphill sounding their horns. The vague sound of angry alarmed yelling drifted up to my window.
I couldn’t hear screams or gunshots, just the snarled up traffic and the panicked blaring of car horns.
I figured some cracked out soul was laying in the road, or else some freak or ‘head was up to something mischievous.
As I started to giggle at the scene unwinding below, the cars backed up as far as the eye could see, I noticed cars start reversing back the wrong way up the road.
Horns started sounding more insistently, beeping at some happening just out of my sight.
Considering the stabbings and the shootings, the blood on the sidewalks and the spiraling crime rate, I perhaps shouldn’t laugh. Something genuinely awful could be happening, yet still there was something amusing about these people in their safe little tin boxes with locks and engines that go fast, getting a SF thrill, a fission of danger as they moved or tried to move, through my end of town, hermetically sealed, usually protected from the crap that I have to walk through just about every single day.
A little mean schadenfreude, a reversal of fortunes: me safe in my little room high above the city and their trip going south nowhere very fast.
The blockage eventually passed, the horns blared less frequently, less insistently panicked, after the solid twenty minutes or so of mayhem, the wrong way down a one way street.
The road went back to it’s usual flow, the horns ceased and life went back to it’s usual slide and slip through the stream of the city’s night time troubles and dangers. Helpless to fight against it, the actions of one person can upset the whole apple cart, and at the very least disadvantage the solidly privileged.
“You can’t let ’em get too close, keep ’em six feet away from you at all times,” the young woman lectured me on how to get through life unharmed and unscarred, flinching at the sight of the thick scars that cross my upper arm, “Run ’em over, back ’em up, fight ’em…punch ’em in the head, that will stop ’em. You are just too meek, Paltry,” she pouted. “Me, I would never let that happen to me.”
I didn’t have the energy left to tell her my Truth. I figure with that attitude, she will sadly find out soon enough.
“Hey, C_____, do you have a car?”
“No reason…Drive safe, darling. Careful who you pick up along the way, ok?”
She tossed her beautiful thick hair at me, scowling. Of course, at 23, she knows absolutely everything. So did I.
It is amazing how brilliant we are at 23 and how stupid we become as we get older.