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This happened yesterday: I finally finish up organizing the Pink panties drawers in the front of the store and I’m about to walk off when one of the Sales Associates asks me where I put some panties. I explain that I’d given her the wrong size and fixed the problem myself. A girl next to her, jaw agape, goes, “Oh! You work here?” I look her dead in the eye, let a huge smile creep across my face and say, “No, I just like to touch all the panties.” Then I walk away while everyone laughs.

While some of the girls and I were processing in the back, they had some stories of their own. Just for emphasis, I’m the only guy processing among a group of five girls and and I’m also the only white person. So what kind of stories are better to tell than stories about gang violence? Awesome.

Anyway, the most dangerous people on the subway are high school kids. To summarize, before I even get into this story, don’t ever–EVER–accidentally scuff a young person’s shoes.

So this teacher gets on the subway and lets her children spread out all over the train. She literally tells the kids to sit wherever they want because they’ll be far less trouble standing up, falling on each other, running around, etc. By the time the kids are all seated, she makes the mistake of sitting down next to a high school girl. While she’s attempting to sit down, she accidentally steps the girl’s shoe. That’s right, one shoe. The girl shoots up, screams out, “What the fuck is wrong with you, bitch? These are brand new hunnid fitty dolla Air Max! I should slap yo dumb ass!” The teacher apologizes, but the girl continues to curse and yell. Finally the teacher stands up, says to everyone but the girl, “Children, please excuse my language and don’t repeat anything I’m about to say,” and then she turns into a superhero: “Young lady, I’ve apologized for an honest mistake and yet you continue to speak inappropriately in front of a class of second graders. You clearly have no shame and do not belong on this train. Get the hell off.” Luckily, the rest of the adults on the train agreed and told the girl to get off. They chanted for her to get off. So she did.

According to the same girl who told this story, she was on a later train and something similar happened. Some guy was reading while standing but his briefcase was accidentally bumping some dude in high school. The kid started yelling at the man, and his friends started yelling too. Luckily it de-escalated and the kids stopped harassing the man. On his way off the train the instigator said to the others, “Aight, I’mma talk to you later. Blood out.”

So gang violence almost got started over a briefcase. Awesome, yet slightly enervating. We continued to talk about gang violence and my coworkers told me that my neighborhood is actually Crip area. So that was really exciting. I asked if I should avoid wearing excessive red colored clothing and the main storyteller told me: “I’m going to be real with you. Just don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.”

Good to know and particularly reassuring since I’ve seen more students than gang members in my neighborhood. Also, the only time I ever owned a pair of sneakers that cost more than $60, I never wore them. I was young, I wanted something that looked cool, but I realized that if I ever wore them they would be ruined. Instead, they got dusty in the garage.

Lesson learned today: the shoe rack we had in the garage when I was a kid saved ten people’s lives.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] you’re white,” but now I no longer worry about stupid things like break-ins or stepping on shoes. In the old apartment, something like 4/8 apartments were hit. I don’t know, I think someone […]

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