Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring, Where are you? / What's with the noose?



Why hello, it has been a while. I haven't dropped off the face of the earth or anything, just been hiding in a busy corner of it. The past few weeks have went by in a blur of illness, major events for work, and a slow yet growing social life.

Highlights have been a successful academic awards ceremony for the kids at work, a highly attended book fair for work (my brainchild) and an epically successful major fundraiser that I sold my soul to (at least for the night).

So there are two major things on my mind. I really want to be like Peter Griffin from Family Guy and say, "You know what really grinds my gears?" Well, I'm frustrated that it is March 30th and the weather is still cold as shit. Ok well literally, shit is not cold, but I'm unhappy. I was hoping to retire my winter coat days ago. Now, they're predicting a Nor'Eastern with snow and crap this weekend. WHY??? This winter started early, is lasting forever, and is horrible. I know I sound like a whiney brat, but I am so sick of the cold weather and ready to break out the flippy floppies and t-shirts. In fact, on the four warm days we had, I did just that. My fellow Philadelphians thought I was crazy and they stared at my exposed feet while wrapping their heavy jacket around their body out of habit. I knew what I was doing, I was milking the warm weather for what it was worth.

Second thing. So today I'm on the EL, commuting to work, late, and this guy gets on the train car that I'm on. He's wearing a big green trench coat, and a variety of other clothes. I figure by the look of him, he might be really poor or homeless. I don't judge so I just sat there minding my business. He took a sip of something from his water bottle and then took off his jacket. He reached into his bookbag and pulled out a rope. Then he stood in front of us, the confused passengers. I figured he could be an old navy vet or something and would demonstrate how to tie knots in exchange for money. Its not a crazy idea, I've seen the evangelists, the people preaching the world will end soon, trumpeters, drum lines, break dancers, acrobats and just about everyone out in the streets of Philly trying to earn some money. Then you have your "hungry please help" people, handicapped people with cups, and the occasional, "do you have a quarter, $1, $5, anything?"

So I'm sitting on the EL, wondering why this guy has a rope, and then see its actually a noose. A feeling of awkward and discomfort started to come over me. The woman sitting across from me got up and either left the EL or changed seats. The people behind the man were oblivious to his...awkward display. I sat there, wanting to move but also trying to figure out what's with the noose?

I thought of the practicality of hanging yourself in a SEPTA EL car. He was tall, it wouldn't work. Plus, his rope wasn't that thick. It would probably snap if he tried something crazy. Maybe he was an exhibitioner, or and old member of the modern day Black Panthers that hold rallies outside the convention center requesting all black men to find Jesus, become better husbands and sons, and overcome the adversity of the majority. Or perhaps he'd whip out a sign that read "hung out to dry, need food and money" and the noose was there to prove a point.

He also had a fanny pack in addition to his bookbag and I didn't want to think what could possibly be in there. Thankfully my stop came before I could figure it out. I might never know what he was doing in that EL car unless it makes the news. I know I was uncomfortable and for the first time, really alarmed by a "strange person." There are tons of reasons as to why he had a noose draped over his shoulders. Right? I guess we'll never know.

Until next time...

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