Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sometimes when you're not looking for a little respect, you might still get some.

I was on the train in a quiet spot towards the back reading my newspaper, when a gaggle of teenage boys entered. And I felt quite curmudgeonly because all I could think about was how noisy and annoying they were, but I tried to keep a straight face so my inner frowning wouldn't show.

I listened to their conversation for a few seconds and then decided to tune them out. One really doesn't have to keep up with the young people all the time. There is a fine art to being somehow alert and yet still concentrating on what you are reading. When I don't practice this, I nearly miss my stop if I'm reading something good.

At some point, I heard one of them recite song lyrics where each line ended with "like a b*tch." Again, I tried not to frown too much. But this did cause me to become more alert.

"Yo, son, yo."

I looked up to see one of them shifting his eyes towards me.

The boy right in front of me turned and looked sheepish. I waved my hand. His friends laughed. And he said, "Hello."

"Hello. How are you?" I replied, sounding like a school marm.

"Good." he said. And he and his friends grinned and then went back to their conversation. They eventually started to discuss the differences between "n*ggas and females" and how they hated when "females" who wouldn't talk to them when they were alone started calling them out and got bold when traveling in groups.

So the lyrics I heard weren't great and those boys won't stop listening to them or using the term "female" as if it described a lower species...the fact that they can show a small amount of deference tells me that all hope is not lost.

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