So I’m standing on the corner waiting on a bus, with all the usual characters. Kids being kids, adults looking tired and anxious, just you know the people you know by sight, because you see them everyday, they are your companions in anonymity. But the last week or so we have been joined by a speaker wielding dancehall connoisseur, and usually we, in our anonymous and very separate way, cut or roll our eyes in exasperation and disgust at the blare of this explicit lyrics in full view of the impressionable children. We say nothing, but we are all secretly and visibly offended but taking it in stride and going on our way, without saying anything.
I don’t know if it was my mood or lack thereof this morning, but this morning I decided to study the newcomer, and noticed he was not alone. He too had a comrade in anonymity not ten feet away, both blaring something or other of the war, sex, drugs, bad man variety.
What struck me about these men, men my age or there about, was the look of them. There clothes were clean though tattered, stylishly I guess. They were both tattooed to the gills, one bald the other with fraying plaits. Both had the telltale red eyes and black lips of someone in a long committed relationship with Miss Mari.
But even more than that, they moved the same way, the look in their eyes was so…similar. They both had this almost dead stare, wary and assessing, administered from visibly upturned noses. I felt judged under their gaze, a slave to the man, soul sold lock stock and barrel to Babylon system, a pawn in babylon’s game lost in sheepish ignorance. They knew the secret. It doesn’t necessarily come with gainful employment, or you know stable family etc, you know the things us sheep crave and work for, but what was that when compared to what they have? What they are? Bad men.
The way they moved, this shifty ape-like stance, it was predatory. Something inside me had decided a long time ago that men like these were not to be messed with, not to be bothered or corrected. Who was I to approach them with my timid air and alternative taste? They somehow were entitled to encroach upon my auditory, visual and physical space. Interesting huh?
I got into the bus with bad man number two and the music, confined in the enclosed space of the conveyance got louder, but more than that so did the conversation. Try as I might to drown them out on the noise of my own thoughts was not enough. I heard about “Stupid women” who wanted aid with household expenses, and mothers who were forced to flee their own homes because of “wicked” sons. Of probation soon to be over, and of the apparent ghetto war, for which knives were obsolete. Of pseudo rasta philosophies of blood and violence, peppered with profanity and “jah” and “ibrate” to justify things that my mind has yet to be able to assimilate as sence. All set to an undertone of the scores of the latest gangsta ghetto dancehall music.
I was not alone in my musing or my annoyance. The woman in front of me, tried desperately to cover the ears of her son, no older than four. I yearned in that moment, for a gentler time when even Bad Men had a respect for children, or even for a woman who looked “respectable”. You know?
I don’t think I’m in a place at this moment for more than just making observations, but some day I will. Until then I want to share my musing…I’m not quite sure why. I don’t think it will affect any change, in fact I doubt it will get a backwards glance. But perhaps that is the issue, perhaps this is my backwards glance, instead of just getting on the bus and forgetting the Bad men and their music, until the next stint at the bus stop.