Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Write of Passage Number Six: The clash of the stereotypes

A number of thoughts crossed my mind when the big brutha with a ghetto blaster sent up camp at my bus stop. One of them was: A ghetto blaster? Seriously? Is he partying like it's 1979? He stashed his blaster on top of the shelter, thought better of it, then swooped it past my ear a couple of times, while shouting along with the rap lyrics and making those hand signals that seem to have been co-opted by boy bands. (I found this video to try to find out about rapper/hip-hop hand signals, but it's only marginally helpful):As I tried to studiously ignore this guy as he strutted up and down, grinning widely beneath his baggy wool cap and neon-yellow sunglasses, my next thought was: Oh Gawd. Please. Not on my bus. These appeared to be the precise thoughts of the bus driver as I climbed on. He glanced over my shoulder, then back at me and we raised our respective eyebrows. Sure enough, as I took my seat, the brutha-from-anotha-planet made his entrance and proceeded past me. Judging from the facial expressions on the swiveling heads, I'd say roughly half our fellow passengers were thinking: Oh Gawd, not on this bus, and the other half were thinking: A ghetto blaster?? Seriously?
It looked like we were all going to sit this out in quiet Canadian martyrdom, until the song finished and the next one started. That's when a number of guys started shouting back at our homie. A very large man who looked like he rode Harley Davidsons when he wasn't using public transit, was particularly incensed and insistent.

"Have some respect for other people. We don't want to listen to your &%#@."
"Stick in some earphones, like everyone else!" someone else added, while the bus driver pulled over, got out of his seat and pointed meaningfully at the door.

Our homie rose slowly with a few choice words and a face-saving shrug and made his way to the back door... closely followed by Motorcycle Man who, uttering a string of imprecations, gave him a mighty shove. Homie measured his length on the sidewalk for a split second, then sprang up and hurled himself at Motorcycle Man, while those of us still on the bus gasped and gaped. Motorcycle Man soon had Homey pinned on his back, his eyes white and wide without his sunglasses which were scattered across the sidewalk along with his ghetto blaster and several other belongings.

"He picked the wrong white guy to piss off," offered someone.
I had my face buried in my hands and looked up at the young girl seated next to me.
"That was totally unnecessary," I said wearily. "He was getting off the bus."
The girl and a young man standing by us nodded vigorously.
"He didn't need to shove him," they said. A lady in bright yellow Brunhilda braids tried to explain how Motorcycle Man was justified, but no one paid much attention; our eyes were glued on the drama outside.

Our bus driver sighed, waited a moment, then got out and strolled over to tap Motorcycle Man on the shoulder as he continued to pin Homey to the sidewalk. I guess some sort of truce was arranged as Motorcycle Man got up, and Homey struggled to his feet. M.M. tried to hand Homey a yellow book of scripture which had fallen in the melée, but Homey was spitting. There were a couple of additional angry exchanges, before a young fella handed Homey his ghetto blaster and got an embrace in return. Motorcycle Man, thank heaven, did not get back on the bus.

It was only when the woman in Brunhilda braids got off at Elgin Street that I realized she was an office worker dressed for this last day of work before Hallowe'en. I was beginning to wonder how many people on that bus had been in costume.


JoeinVegas said...

And what were you dressed as?

maybe that guys with the GB what just in a halloween costume, as a rapper from the 70's.

Axe said...

Hail fellow MTH fan - Listen to Mott The Hoople from the recent London concerts on AXEFM.