Tuesday, November 02, 2004


WASHINGTON, D.C.--His name, he said, was Apocalypse, a rather improbable appellation for this plump, baby-faced young man of maybe 19 or 20. What occasioned the conversation was your blogstress's "I Voted" sticker, tentatively laid on the collar of her fabulous black leather jacket, which he noticed as she sat herself down across the aisle from him on the number 96 bus. "You did that," he said. Your Webwench looked around. The man in the wheelchair who had gotten on the bus just ahead of your cybertrix fumbled around a minute in his wallet, proudly producing his own sticker. A further scan of the passengers revealed most wearing the cute little stickers. Most were African-American. Apocalypse appeared to be of mixed heritage, his dreads, about the thickness of the wool used for baby sweaters, were bleached to a soft gold that matched his perfectly smooth skin; his eyes a merry shape and blue-green.

"Well, did you?" your cybertrix asked. Well, no, he hadn't, he said. "See, now, we need you young people," your net-tĂȘte said, sounding uncharacteristically something like her actual age.

"I just need to get my music and my writing out there," he replied.

Your blogstress agreed that artists nearly always comprise the vanguard of any revolution, but they are also society's most vulnerable activists, she explained. "Especially artists of color," she added, before her eyes landed on her own very pale hands and she wondered if she hadn't overstepped.

The conversation took off from there, ranging from Christ being the true leader (Apocalypse), you're gonna wind up fighting in a war (blogstress); people died for you, how dare you not vote (educated 50-something black woman); ain't no talkin' to you (working-class 50-something black woman).

Finally, the driver could take it no more. "Isn't anybody hearing what God is saying?!" he yelled. He was about 60, and African-American himself. "It's simple; it's about good and evil. Look beyond yourselves! This ain't about you; it's about the world.

"When I get some form and they ask all that stuff--race, ethnicity, what-have-you," he continued, "I cross it out and write Earth Man--'cause I'm a man, and God put me here on this earth. That's why we're here--to take care of this earth. And if this thing don't go right, it's gonna be hell on earth. And that's the right word--hell."

Your Webwench exited the bus, chastened.

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