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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, October 20, 2006

Today was a good day

I just saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp, and it read "James is a Pimp!"

No, really. I'm not channeling Ice Cube. I really did see the blimp. Fine, it didn't say I was a pimp. But I was just sitting in my backyard and it floated by, advertising tires or some such product.

But I admit seeing the blimp did make me think of It Was a Good Day. BTW, if you aren't a fan of hip-hop, don't freeze up, cringe, and change the page. Have a sense of humor. It's just a music video. I guarantee you most of us have seen worse at bachelor and bachelorette parties.

So I got to work later than I wanted this morning, because City of Miami transit workers forgot again to feed the squirrels who run on the conveyer belt that apparently runs the Metro Mover trolley that loops downtown and stops virtually at the front door of The Miami Herald. The M&M broke down halfway from the downtown train station to the Herald. So I had to walk a few blocks to get to work.

Before that, while waiting for the train I ride from Broward County (just north of Miami-Dade County, for you out-of-towners) to Miami a couple of days a week I encountered a guy who plucked one of my biggest pet peeves. On the train platform at the station nearest my house there are about half a dozen benches. I was sitting on one bench. The other five or so were empty.

This guy walked down the platform and sat on my bench... right next to me. I swear he didn't leave three inches between us. There wasn't room to fart.

Why? So many empty seats. Why crowd my space? Why get in my koolaid?

To make matters worse he began to read my newspaper over my shoulder and made no attempt to hide his intrusion.

I let that annoy me until the train arrived. But then the guy started talking to me. He commented on the weather, a story on the front page of the Herald about the elderly man who survived the stingray attack. He smiled and nodded to other passengers. And when we arrived at the transfer station, where we'd switch trains for the second leg to Miami he leapt from his chair bolted to the train's door and without prompting helped a clearly overwhelmed young mother lift her baby stroller to the ground.

Maybe this guy was a little bit of a weirdo for crowding me. But I don't think it was any deeper than that. He was just a friendly guy, who happened to be a little odd.

At any rate, I have gotten so used to bumping into hateful numbnuts in the past year or so that I find myself getting suspicious of even really friendly people.

Hopefully next time I encounter a friendly stranger I'll reciprocate the 'tude.

Today was a good day.


  • Never mind that, did you lend him your phone??

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 9:22 PM  

  • Ha. Very funny, Sarc. Since last week I have kept my cell hidden while on the train - stuck in a pocket or tucked away in my briefcase or backpack.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:37 PM  

  • Hay, in this day and age you've got to have radar for weirdoes. The guy could just as easily have been tryin' to put a move on you... not that there's anything wrong with that. Nice that he turned out not to be too crazy. The part about the blimp reminded me that when I was a kid, high school, my best friend built a model of it that actually had a scrolling message that you could personalize. battery powered. Had forgotten all about that.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 1:32 PM  

  • The Goodyear Blimp is a MIami classic. Where does it park now? It used to be on Watson Island.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 12:54 PM  

  • That man sounded so strange... but beautiful.

    I like your focus on peeves and the petty disrespect other humans sometimes show (from your blog summary). It's tough. My biggest thing is other men trying to stare me down all of the time. I get it all of the frickin' time. I don't know how others deal with this sort of thing but my blood boils sometimes.

    But I guess what's worse is when you're disrespected by people pretending you're not even there... like the invisible man. I dunno. All I can do is sound off on my blog and talk to people I know. I'm not the only who finds life to be... trying at times.

    You try to have a sense of humor about it in the best of worlds.

    By Blogger Matt, at 8:54 PM  

  • You must be a freek magnet, dook. I told you how you should respond. Sometimes, the a$$holish nature of northeasterners is very useful, especially when using public transit (the rules of non-engagement with strangers on a train were crafted by a NYC subway rider in 1924). I'll remind you again--by not telling this person to f**k off, you implied that you didn't mind his close and personal relationship with you and your paper. You also implied that being friendly with this person is something you invited. Like a dog waiting to be noticed so he can run over to hump your leg, there are people out there just like it who can't wait for an unsuspecting sucker to latch on to (ala Fight Club's Big Bob "looking over with shrink-wrapped tears"). I know that's just what you wanted from this guy--a little intimacy on a train platform. You got an Instafriend(TM) when you were looking for some quiet.

    Stop making eye contact and this problem will go away. If that doesn't work, pushes, shoves, slaps, loud talking, spit, cigarette burns, right crosses and left hooks are all effective as loser repellents. Try one out and see how it works.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 1:51 PM  

  • I liked this post. There's nothing wrong with being odd. Sometimes very good people are wrapped up in odd packages.

    By Blogger QofD, at 2:31 PM  

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