Maybe I get cocky when I wear my America Is Scary t-shirt. People tend to stare, and sometimes make disapproving faces, so I have to keep my shoulders squared, my guard up, and be ready to defend myself, at least mentally, because shit, it can get scary out there these days.
So when stee and I were on the train from Connecticut to New York tonight, I probably should have realized I could get into some trouble.
Look, I’m not the kind of person to speak up in a crowd, when someone’s going off about something on which I don’t agree. But this was just the wrong night, and the wrong guy. I’m wearing my shirt and the train conductor, he’s practically yelling at this old woman about why she has to vote for Bush. His argument started with, “I’ve made less at this job every year for the past four years, but my federal taxes have gone down, so it’s not so bad,” and quickly escalated to, “Bush has a plan. He wants to take this country and make it what it was. He wants to turn this country back to where it used to be. No more deviants with their lifestyles. No more me paying for these women having all these children. Fathers don’t leave their kids anymore in Bush’s world. No more deviants getting diseases I have to pay for to find a cure.”
I’m staying quiet, purple cap on my head, America Is Scary shirt quietly telling him what I’m not. But now I’m looking at him, because he’s quickly turning from annoying to serious asshole. Stee even gave a rather loud bark of a laugh when the conductor said that John Kerry wants to raise your taxes so you have to pay for sick people to get better. According to this man, Bush’s plan was “Kill ‘Em Or Let ‘Em Die: Fuck Everyone Else.”
Dude, I even stayed quiet through all of that, because fuck, you can’t argue with crazy. But then the old woman, after having been told that her social security is gone because homosexuals invented AIDS, asks this man why she should vote for Bush when he’s the reason we’re at a war she doesn’t agree with, and he answered her by saying you can’t vote for Kerry, because Kerry believes in abortions.
“Not just early abortions. John Kerry will let you have an abortion anytime, anywhere. Even after the baby’s born, he’ll let you have one.”
I don’t know, man. I just snapped.
“Did you just say John Kerry will let you have a child and then kill it?”
The conductor raised his hands. “Well.”
“You did. You said John Kerry will let you give birth to a child and then kill it.”
“Hey, I didn’t invent partial birth abortions.”
“Holy shit. Is that what you think that means?”
stee got in immediately. “But that was your answer as to why Bush has us at war!”
“Hey, do you know how those abortions go?”
“Why are we at war?”
“They started it.”
“Who started it? Bush started it.”
“No. Those people flew planes into our buildings. They started it. Those people have weapons. We have to kill everyone who plans on killing us.”
This is what gets me. I shouted at him my newest slogan: “Then bomb Florida, man.”
I want that on a shirt so bad, I can’t stand it. Bomb Florida. Every day, the worst news. Cut it and push it.
“You can’t bomb Florida!” the conductor thought he’d win back the rest of the train, but they were smiling at us, agreeing with us, and I think a little happy someone finally fucking said something to this man who’s supposed to take my money and then say, “Last stop.”
“Florida trained those people who flew the planes. Bomb Florida. Bomb the sixty other countries that harbor terrorists.”
“I’m just picking the lesser of two evils.”
Stee laughed. “That’s not what you’ve been saying all this time! Now he’s evil? You said…”
And then the conductor went into the other car.
“You’d think he was close, personal friends of Bush,” said the kid who asked us for a dollar as we got on the train.
I, of course, thanked the conductor when we got off the train, because Lord knows I want everyone to think I’m a nice girl. But we got to Bridgeport without anyone getting punched, so that’s good.
“See? I changed trains when it got heated,” he said to stee.
“That’s alright, dude,” stee said. “Have a good one.”
The kid who needed a dollar sneered, “Viva Bush, man.” Hee.
People were still scoffing the words “Partial Birth Abortion” as we waited for our transfer at Bridgeport, making us look like the craziest, angriest bunch of ragtag travelers.
“I’d never do that,” I said to stee. “I can’t believe I yelled at a train conductor.”
“You probably shouldn’t have,” he said.
“Yeah, I know. But he got me so mad. You got involved, too.”
“That’s ‘cuz my woman was yappin’. I had to back her up.”
“She was yappin’ her lip, and I couldn’t just not say anything.”
This is a very strange time.