I was approached by a rather awkward young fellow on Walnut Street in Philadelphia this afternoon. I saw him cross from the other side of the street. I noticed that he noticed me and then lingered at the corner.
He had a small notebook and looked about 30. I assumed he was about to harangue me with climate change propaganda or ask me to fill out a survey about my understanding of gender issues.
“Excuse me, sir,” He timidly said.
“Hey, what’s up?” I said in a friendly yet subdued tone to match his timidity.
“I’m sorry, sir. I gave the finger to that pickup truck because, well, because he made fun of me and said something ugly to me.”
I gazed intently down Walnut Street, not seeing a pickup truck but stalling to allow my brain to adjust to the reason why this man approached me, as opposed to what I assumed initially.
This fellow was noticeably bothered by what he just experienced. He needed a little support. He was like a stray puppy that just got kicked in the hind quarters. Plus, the eczema on his neck was an indication that he probably carried enough stress every day. So I did the only sensible thing.
I raised my middle finger after the pickup, as best I could with a Bruegger’s bagel in my right hand and a coffee and my left, and proclaimed, “Fuck that guy!”
The puppy stammered, “Uh. Yeah! YEAH! FUCK THAT GUY!”
“You have a good day!” I said as I left him on smiling on Walnut.