Time To Settle Accounts
January 17, 2012: Common sense.
It was late afternoon when I stepped on the Kedzie Green Line. The train car was well-populated but not crowded, and I stood by the door and began to read. Four people sat in the back of the car. On my right was a white guy in his 20s – blond hair, black hoodie, blue jeans, with his Timberlands propped up on the seat next to him. On my left was an older black couple seated next to each other, and a young man, also black, dressed similarly as the white guy. The three people on the left were staring at the guy on the right, who seemed to be in the midst of a speech.
“See, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with black people,” he said. This got me to look up from my book. “You only smoke blunts. It makes no sense! A bowl is more economical. It’s healthier. It’s less expensive after the one-time cost. And it’s better for when the cops show up.”
He pulled a small pipe from his coat pocket. “Look at this, for instance,” he said, holding up the pipe. “I was walking today, hitting the bowl. Cop drives by. With a blunt, you gotta ditch that shit, right?” he said, waiting for the crowd’s response. They stared at him, dumbfounded. “Right?” he said again. “Jeez,” he said, shaking his head. “Everyone so nervous. You guys probably wouldn’t even smoke on a train. You don’t mind if I smoke, do you?”
He pulled a lighter out of the other pocket and ripped the bowl. “Okay, back to what I was saying – cop rolls through, and if I’m smoking a blunt, I have to ditch it. Waste of weed, right? But now all I do is tuck it away in my pocket, and bam! Cop is gone and I still have my bowl. It just makes good sense.”
“But then you’re holding a bowl plus weed in your coat while talking to a police officer,” said the other young man, piping in, “instead of just tossing a blunt.”
“So what?” he asked. “Are you a tweak? If you’re not a tweak, what’s the problem? You just say, ‘Hello officer. Nice day isn’t it.’ And he says, ‘Yes it is, young man. Have a nice day.’ And then you say, ‘You too officer, have a nice day too.’ And then you wait for him to leave and then bam! You’re blazing again.
“Chicagoans with their blunts,” he said to the onlookers as he took another hit off the bowl. “I just don’t get it.”
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