Recently, me and one of my best friends were discussing some of the reasons why interacting with most people is pointless. This case study of a random (?) sample of individuals on BART tonight should give some insight to this shared conclusion:

A young, attractive, well-coiffed woman was talking to a middle-aged gay guy (I surmised from their conversation) about Los Angeles. It seems she was preparing to move there. He was reaping reluctant praise on certain neighborhoods while simultaneously telling her to prepare for spending 3+ hours driving per day. So far so good. In a pleasant mood and unable to resist my contrarian impulses, I smiled and leaned over,

“Excuse me, I heard you were talking about L.A. and just wanted to say: as an L.A. native…I hate L.A.”

Woman, meekly: It has good weather, it’s sunny.

Translation: Superficial concerns, like one place being slightly sunnier and warmer than a place that is already sunnier and warmer than most places, is of importance to me.

Me: It’s a desert. All of California is a desert, mostly.

Her: I like it for networking.

Translation: Bullshit concepts like “networking” are of great importance to my life.

Guy: (to her quietly, at first) He’s nice (motioning to me).

Me: What?

Guy (smiling at me): You’re a nice young man.

Translation: I am overtly checking you out, because that’s what middle-aged gay guys do.

Then, one stop before I was preparing to disembark, a “crew” of ragged youths crowded into the middle of the train, flipped on a portable speaker that started blaring hip-hop, and made an announcement that they were about to start dancing, and can you please put your hands together, and give something besides applause if you like it, etc.

I have seen these same young men, and others like them, often on such late night trains, doing the same moves to similar music. They flip around on the floors, hang from handle bars, and take up the space and attention of other passengers. It was 9:30 PM, and the train was still relatively packed.

“Could you please move,”

one of the youths said to me, more as a statement than a question, as I stood there, standing on an area of a train that was designed for people to stand on while they wait for their destinations.

I leaned over to him, and over the music,  said,

“You don’t have a right to play your music and dance in a place that is for people riding the train.”

“I said please,”

he half-whimpered, half-menaced.

Translation: I believe I have a God-given right to play my music, dance, promote myself, and hopefully earn money wherever the F*ck I please, even if it infringes on the rights of fare-paying passengers who are using this service as intended, unlike us, who use it to capture an audience literally unable to leave.

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