Public Displays of Gratification

On a warm, rain-less summer night, I could walk for hours. But as the sun was setting, I found myself in a part of town where a lady wandering solo was a really bad idea. Seeing a streetcar stop, I decided to take off to a neighborhood nearby that was far less sketchy.




The streetcar was going to come by in a few minutes and I was alone. A man kept walking back and forth past my streetcar stop, his head whipping around, watching people as they go by.

…Spidey senses….tingling….




When the sidewalk on either side of the stop was emptied of passersby, he was suddenly in front of me with his back turned, his hands fiddling with something beneath his waist. I looked away, pretending not to notice, until I heard the sound of his fly unzipping.
Oh boy. Here we go.

“Hey. Hey!” He said to me in a rough slurring voice, just above a loud whisper, “You ever seen a guy drip off?” Still not looking at him, I replied calmly, “Yep, and I’ve seen bigger.”

Then I walked off, very quickly, in case that creepy pervert decided to follow me. And I kept walking to the nearest, more populated streetcar stop.




Later on, I got off the streetcar, picked a direction, and went. It was sunset and the city was coming to life – sleek cars, gorgeous women, men trying to get their attention. I wandered in the near darkness, feeling somehow something absurd was about to happen.






On my way to another bar, I took a shortcut through a park and suddenly heard odd clacking, sort of like sticks hitting together. Curious, I decided to follow that noise, which sounded more rhythmic than random. It grew louder. No one else was at the park, and I walked towards a man sitting in front of the source of the clacking.




He was sitting at a loom, in a park, weaving fabric. Because THAT’S not weird, right?

He had a basket of scarves, and was busy making another one. I asked him why he picked such a place to practice his craft – a park, in the dark, to unleash his creative spark?




He smiled and explained that he used to rent a basement apartment, where he created his scarves and sold through retailers. But at his new apartment, neighbors complained about the noise. So he brings his loom to public parks where he could weave, day or night, without disturbing anyone. He handed me his basket of finished scarves, which were all beautiful and so very soft.

I complimented him on his creations and left him to weave deep into the night.


The Cocktail

Who doesn’t love a bit of irony?
That night, I stopped by The Clyde and ordered a house cocktail, in memory of my hasty exit from that streetcar stop with the man and his … public display.
It was called The Long Goodbye.