Usually people know to talk to me.
Crazy, unhinged people know this.
They want to sell me some nail paint,
or they want to bemoan the state of the world,
sometimes they want to do me physical harm.
It's probably my fault for acknowledging their existence.
I just can't help it though,
I have to look up,
I make eye contact,
I seal my fate.
So what happened was Burger and I get on the train for a special trip to the city.
The doors open.
Wow! A practically empty train greets us... how nice!
But then I sense him and next I hear him.
"Fuck you with those fancy glasses"
Even though I'm sure he's talking to me,
I tell myself he can't be talking to me
because my glasses are NOT fancy.
So rather than just turn around and wait for another train
we sit down a ways away from the man
and I just tell myself that there are some other fancy glasses angering the man.
There must be, because mine are certainly not fancy.
Burger and I watch out the windows while I try to ignore the persistently louder agitated vibes.
And then we pass the tipping point.
I say "we" because at this point wether I like it or not, this man is a part of our universe and will be until we can escape the train.
This is when Burger starts to ask me what this guys problem is.
He's sick I tell him.
He's angry I tell him.
...I don't know what is wrong with him but he's angry and sick.
And then in a blur the man is crossing the train towards us.
He's yelling about surveillance, and CIA things.
He's yelling at me for teaching my son to hate black people.
I turn Burger around, away from the man and I tell him not to listen.
Don't listen to the man.
Just get ready I tell him.
Then Burger turns around and looks at the man.
Which is something else I told him not to do, on account of how it engages them.
And then the man reaches out, as if to separate Burger from the ensuing beat down he is ready to hand to me.
Your daddy is a bad man.
Your daddy's teaching you to hate black people.
Then he says to me, I don't give a fuck, I'm not gonna hurt your boy but I'll kick YOUR fucking ass.
I'm holding Burger's hand and telling him not to listen, just get ready to get off the train.
You're daddy's a bad dad!
That does it.
Burger swings around out of my grip and yells
"MY DAD IS THE BEST DAD IN THE WORLD!"
He doesn't say this with any fear, he states it like the most absolute truth he knows.
a.) I am six years old.
b.) Legos are fucking awesome.
c.) My Dad is the best Dad.
And the man goes quiet.
The train, half full of bystanders unwilling to intervene is quiet.
Then the man looks at me and I look at him like what can I say!? The Boy has got my back.
I'd like to say that this broke the tension, or that the train erupts with cheers and whistles, or that in this moment of clarity the man's brain suddenly rights itself and he apologizes and we all go about our day, happy as clams.
Instead, in the shock of the moment the train doors open
and I say let's go!
And we eacape, unharmed but a bit rattled.
Now we are in a different train car, and we are sitting down.
Burger says he's sorry for talking to that man.
It's okay I say.
Then we are quiet.
Then I say "You really told that guy what's what, you saved the day."
A smile starts to spread across his face and then he giggles
"Yeah! I yelled at him and protected you!"
I can only stare at him, his beautiful face,
his brave spirit,
his bold voice that can silence a crazy world for a few precious seconds...
Then the train doors open
and we walk out and up the stairs,
ready for the shit.