Or perhaps I should have had a reply?

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chi_duffel.jpg
Stuff. A literal pain in my neck. See, this is why I always seem leery of acquiring more of it. That's ze pad del Connor behind me. 2005:05:03 08:48:01.

Got into Chicago with minimal event yesteday morning, after a 9-hour overnight bus ride. Wearing a 70-ish pound duffel bag full of tools as a backpack, I'm sure I cut quite the figure shuffling through downtown Chicago. (Said I to Connor: "Enough rope, you can tie anything to your back." His reply was something to the effect of having half-expected me to arrive by scaling his building.) After dropping my stuff at his place, spend most of the day stomping aout town -- principally Hyde Park -- largely without net access. Hence the lack of update.

Today it's back to Hyde Park this afternoon. We'll be gathering as the evening progresses to set up my ScavHunt team's headquarters. The major effort there will be to move our accumulated scavenged building materials in from the various dispersed locales in which they are presently stored. There's also mundane stuff like moving furnature around to arrange stuff for maximum utility. Electrical stuff should be near outlets. The computer table should be out of the way.

Being as I look like a white kid on first (and, well, second and third) glance, I can never really blend in on a Greyhound going to or from Chicago. But I do alright, apparently falling into the same category as the slightly demented Vietnam vets and other oddballs. This is a very different dynamic than when I fly, where I get immediately pegged as a student, and occasionally wind up answering questions about astronomy for the whole flight. On the bus, I mostly get left alone.

Except for That One Guy. There's always one. Loud, vulgar, won't stop chattering at whomever has wandered into his orbit. Everyone knows where he's from, where he's going, which girls in the line he thinks are hot. That he was stopped for speeding while black in Ohio, so they impounded his car and now he's on the bus back to Brooklyn. Everyone who rides the bus a lot gets good at ignoring That One Guy.

I assume he was just gunning for a rise out of me when he wandered by, pointed at the ropes tied to my duffel, and said it. "Hey, you gonna hang some niggers with those ropes or what?"

I shot the fellow my best effort at a withering glance and went back to ignoring him, thanking Heaven that it was a black guy who said that. I'm certain others heard it, but nobody else reacted. Out of indifference, I'm sure. They didn't care; he's just That One Guy being an ass. On the other hand, that was the first time I can recall in a very long time having been too self-conscious to act. Me! A veteran perpetrator of the preposterous, one who gives Israeli soldiers attitude over the extra "attention" I get for not looking Jewish, and one who certainly never minded being in the racial minority on the south side of Chicago.

So there's two questions I've been mulling over for the past day-and-some now. The first is, what about him, myself, the setting prompted That One Guy to use that particular approach to get my goat? The second is more subjective: could I, or should I, have responded differently?

3 Comments

1. He's That One Guy. He was gunning for some kind of statement. Wouldn't have mattered if you had rope or not. He probably would have said something similar.

2. You handled it well. If you responded in another way, he might have gone off on a tirade and then the whole bus would be mad at you for inflaming That One Guy.

oh god. i've taken the greyhound countless times between here and indianapolis. and it's the same weirdness every time. i stick out like a sore thumb. but, depending on the crowd, a sweet smile or a really surly glare tends to keep the weirdos and scary folks out of my way. ... i just have to be careful not to pull one when they other would be in order--can have the opposite of the desire effect.

eesh. the above exemplifies why i have made No mention of the hunt in my own writing since it began. i need sleep. for clarification, i meant: "when the other would be in order--can have the opposite of the desired effect"

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on May 4, 2005 1:06 PM.

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