"I don't know how black people get so evil so?"
It was like from right out of a movie. You know the scene. The one you overlook at the beginning because it seems trivial so you assume its so much window dressing, irrelevant to the main act to follow. Now if they'd used a thespian that you were familiar with someone like Bruce Willis or Winona Rider you might have paid more attention but they used some little no name johnny come lately from off the street that you had never seen before, even though he may have done two or three small time movies in the past. But that was the point you hadn't seen him before so he was insignificant to your gaze. Hence the scene was ignored.
Its only near the end of the movie when the plot is revealed and it all comes together that you realize what a pivotal scene it was and you wished you had really taken note before instead of reaching for your big buttery popcorn when that scene was on.
Well it was like that with me last Monday but not really.
Left for work a little late. On the train west I decided I was tired of going to my usual transfer spot where the crowds are thick on the platform and I've got to use my box out, and elbowing skills, developed on the basketball court in order to make it onto the southbound train.
Yea lets skip that routine for one day. I'll just get off on the Danforth and grab a streetcar that takes me relatively near to where I'm going. Its a longer trip but I'm not rushed like I usually am plus its always better to be above ground than below anyways.
So that decision made I hopped out the subway and went upstairs at the station to grab a streetcar.
Anyway it was on that streetcar journey that the pivotal moment happened. I saw it but like the moviegoers mentioned above I didn't realize its significance or recognize the actor.
I was just taking in random sights when I was drawn to the figure of a tall black man on one corner. He looked like a bum. He seemed to be begging for change from a guy who had just gotten out of his car at a gas station or corner store or something. My mind said 'crackhead' or some sort of drug addict just from his jerky movements and the way his hands came out into the begging stance so swiftly.
Not an altogether strange scene on the streets of Toronto but I guess what grabbed me about it was the distinctive wave of the hand the guy who got out of his car gave to the outstretched hand. It was a literal brush off. A silent, go away, don't bother me, I have absolutely nothing for you gesture. It was probably delivered with a scowl as well but from my vantage point I couldn't tell. Well somehow that scene got my attention.
Thought about it for a few more seconds after we passed but then that was it. Back to life back to reality back to thinking about work or some other thing awaiting in my future. No Bruce Willis or Brad Pitt in that scene so it wasn't important.
Fast forward to lunch time. I just need to get away from the office at lunch or I'll go crazy. I usually do a lot of walking at lunch. Well walking or using my metro pass to go make a quick visit to another area.
Anyway I'm on my way back after running some errands about 3 blocks from work and guess who I see from afar walking in the opposite direction coming towards me. Yep, well I'll be damned if its not the same beggar I saw this morning on the other side of the city. Fancy seeing him here.
He's still got the outstretched hands as he attempts to ask every passerby for change. I get closer and see his shabby clothing and his mannerisms and figure yep drug addict I was right. I'm thinking I'm not giving this guy jack to support his habit if he asks me but he probably wont anyways cause if there's one thing I've learned its that in a crowd beggars will approach anyone but the black person first. Damn imagine that ish, we're even last on the beggars list.
Still just my luck the crowd thins out by the time I get to this guy or rather he gets to me. Oh well he can ask but I aint giving. There it goes, hand outstretched, the plaintive look on his face and the "Spare any change?" question swiftly proffered.
I make eye contact, shrug my shoulders and say "sorry".
That's when he leans over and says in a low voice to me "I don't know how black people get so evil so?"
Read what you will into the statement.
I don't stop, I didn't look at him or acknowledge his comment. We both keep on walking going in our separate directions.