Friday, August 03, 2007

was that a car alarm?

Yesterday, I was walking up Los Angeles Street towards 6th. The light was red, and as I approached the intersection I saw her. She was probably 15-16 years old, dirty blonde disheveled hair, wearing short shorts, a dirty t-shirt and a windbreaker. She was really out of it and looked like she'd been living on the streets for a couple of weeks. She was standing next to this big guy who wore a football jersey, bandanna holding back his braids. He was huge. I had a boyfriend in college who was that big, his nickname was "Wall Unit".

I stood on the corner, waiting for the light to change so I could cross. She stood next to me, looking dazed and confused. His voice, deep and sonorous, asked her, "So where are you stayin'?" He reminded me of Ving Rhames, only younger and scarier.

Still dazed, she looked down 6th Street, then up Los Angeles. She bit her lip, brought her thumb up to her mouth, then gestured vaguely down the street, "Over there somewhere." He shook his head, "Oh no, you're with me now." The light turned green. He took her hand and they crossed the street beside me. They continued up Los Angeles Street, hand in hand, while I waited to cross again. Did I just witness a pimp pick up a runaway? Should I say something, do something? If yes, then what? And to who? If I ever see her again, will she be turning tricks in a porta-potty? I watched her walk away with her new "protector" and realized I couldn't do anything. So I did nothing.

Later in the day, I found myself participating in a bizarre racist exchange on Main Street. There I was, was standing at the mid-block crosswalk on Main Street by my parking garage. I pressed the button, then I heard some guy behind me, chanting, "CHING-CHONG! CHING-CHANG-CHONG!" I heard him getting closer, thought to myself, "WTF?" and turned around.

A Middle-Eastern guy in a grey jumpsuit was about 10 feet away from me, looking right at me, walking towards me, trying to intimidate me with, "CHING-CHONG! CHING-CHANG-CHONG!" Motherfucker. I couldn't let that pass. I turned towards him and stood my ground. But I didn't yell something equally racist like, I don't know, "Fuck you, ya terrorist," or whatever. No. I mean, he didn't call me a "chink" or anything. He was just chanting some nonsense words that sounded vaguely Asian and derogatory.

So what did I do? I reciprocated in kind. I turned around, looked right at him sneeringly, and ululated. Loudly. "ULALALALALALALALALAL!" He kept walking towards me, so I showed no fear and kept on wailing, "ULALALALALALALALALAL!" He got right up to me and said something in Arabic that I, of course, did not understand. So I said calmly, "Fuck you, asshole." He continued jabbering at me over his shoulder as he walked away. I continued, "Yeah, keep walking motherfucker before I wax on, wax off on your ass, ya pussy." I know, I'm ridiculous.

And to think I was worried that downtown is getting too gentrified and boring. Well, it's a lot of things, but definitely not boring.


Angel ABC said...

Is the Ulala-ing like what Middle Eastern women do for their celebratory, high-pitched wails (i.e. Lawrence of Arabia)? If so, our gay bowling league team had a similar yell. We'd do it every time we needed a shrill, high-pitched pick-me-up. It drove the other teams crazy. We were nicknamed the "banshees" and were the target of many an eye-roll.

Angel ABC said...

Now I'm singing the "Thong Song" in my head as "Let me see that chong ... Chong-ch-chong-chong-chong!"

Rick Andreoli said...

You're not ridiculous. You're GENIUS!

On one hand, I'm horrified that crap like this is still happening, especially from a group that's on the receiving end of so much racism right now.

On the other, I'm so f-ing proud of you for what you did. I would have started screaming and being an emotional fag (imagine).

When we meet, I must buy you a cocktail or 10.

john said...

The first part of your posting is so sad. It sounds like this young lady's life will be going from bad to the pits of hell.

As far as the second part of your blog, what an idiot that piece of shit is.

Penelope said...

heh are too funny!

The first story-so sad. Witnessed something similar to that first story and felt so freakin' unless.

Urban Memo said...

do you have any other posts in which you talk about how you dealt with harassment on the street?