Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How Bizarre

Let me start out by saying I'm no mumbler. When I'm relaxed, I'm sure my pronunciation and projection fall short of perfection but I'm far from one of those people who chews up his words and upchucks gibberish.


Today, I biked to a grocery store and, as so often happens, found that I'd crossed the threshold... to the Twilight Zone - apparently marked in the real world by motion detectors and automatic, glass doors.

I saw a large, young, Black male who I suppose was a greeter or sample offerer. Since I was hoping to find a left-over newspaper to mark last night's historic events, I walked over to him prepared for bad news, but not expecting a negative encounter.

I asked, "If you had any newspapers left, where would they be?"
"Oh, you didn't hear what happened, last night?" Heh. Okay, he's got a quick wit (or he's been wearing that one-liner out, all day); that's cool.

He began walking to my left and gave me the impression that I should follow.
"Boy I don't know what this world is comin' to..." I looked at him. "But you're probably just as disappointed as I am," he continued.

I figured he, like most, was talking about the election and, although I know darned well there are young, Black conservatives and Republicans, I didn't expect him to be a card-carrying member of either club.

I couldn't help prompting him for clarification, "What do you mea..."
"Oh. We don't have none left," he offered, with a redundancy that dwarfed the very large, very empty newspaper rack we'd been approaching.
"Oh well. I figured I was out of luck."

"But yeah, this world is going down the tubes."
Ahh, we're back on-track now. "Howso?"

"What's wrong with the world?"


"Yeah, this world, y'know, it's a mess."
"Yes, you said that. Why?"


It was the kind of "huh?" with which I'd become far too familiar. It was the default response used by a subset of the population whose habits were the conversational equivalent of salting one's food before tasting it. It was the cart before the horse - a request for clarification that preceded confusion.

This is usually followed by a statement that quickly reveals that the listener indeed heard what was said... right around the time the speaker has begun repeating himself.

Patience may not be my greatest virtue, but I felt I'd given this young man too many irreplaceable seconds of my life and in-return I'd gotten nothing but pissed.

As a parting gift, I gave him a look that even a dog can communicate to someone who does something so stupid or confusing that one figures it would HAVE to make more sense when viewed sideways:

"R u stoopid?"

1 comment:

Michael May said...

Ha! Awesome story. Great punchline. :D