Saturday, April 14, 2007

Face Off

So me and the wife were standing on the 11th Street Subway Station in Philadelphia, waiting for the Market-Frankford Line to take us to to 2nd Street, where the angels lay in waiting with food and drink (the Spice Cafe and the Triumph Brewing Company ). I was standing as close to the yellow line as I could, looking out for the train, as close to the subway tracks as was possible, without being one with them.

The Market Frankford line is the second seediest subway line in Philadelphia, the first being the Broad Street Line, there being only two Subway lines in the Philadelphia subway system. So as we were standing there in broad daylight, the daylight being obscured by the roof over our heads, us being below ground, two black punks entered the station from the left wing of the stage.

There was happiness all around as these two punks entered, them being happy and cracking jokes and laughing and all. And as we stood there, waiting for our transportation to appear, they started a-rappin', rap-a-tap-a-tappin', gettin' down wit' it dawg, crackin' out those rhymes with the world a-watchin'.

And I was watching and enjoying the rapping and they were going "wit an empty pocket" as the chorus to their rap song, and they were laughing and rapping and I was enjoying with them and then they called out, hey you, with the empty pocket.

And the station contained only four people out of which I was the only one with the empty pocket, but it couldn't be me because my pocket was full of my wallet and it was a big huge wallet and it was so big that it was showing through my pants and it couldn't possibly be an empty pocket, but wait a minute, maybe those punks were being satirical and making fun of my full pocket by calling it an empty pocket.

So the black punk called out, yes, you there with the empty pocket, do you have change for a 100 dollars?

I had 20 dollars in my full pocket but that was not the point, so I looked at the punk, and it seemed like he was, in fact, looking at me, and although I still had not come to terms with the fact that I had a satirically empty pocket, I knew he was talking to me.

Hey man, do you have change for a fifty dollars?

Ok, I get it, I have a fat wallet, but trust me, it is mostly full of health insurance cards and stamps and Indian driving licenses and no, I do not have change for fifty dollars, that wallet-fatness, that is but an illusion, and I wish I could have slipped an arm over his shoulder and walked with him to a park bench to explain that to him but he was with punk accompaniment and I was with wife so I had very little recourse.

And because he was black and I was brown and I was with wife and with very little humanity on the station, I pretended that he was speaking to someone else on the other platform, on the other side of the tracks, directly collinear with me. I smiled at him because he was not speaking to me. He was speaking to the guy on the other platform collinear with me.

Mrs Gawker said to me, let us go stand with the rest of the civilized world to our left. The civilized world consisted of a woman speaking on a cellphone. But I was defiant. I had worked out in the fucking gym for the past three months and in the absence of a pistol-shaped bulge in those pants, I was going to defend my turf. No, I said, If we move, they win. And fuck it, I do not have an empty pocket or a full pocket.

I kept my ground. With my empty / fat wallet. And soon, the punks quit making fun of my pocket and moved on. And there was a lesson there for all you punks. Do not mess with a married Indian. He will beat your ass. He will beat your ass with his Indian driving license if need be. Do not mess with him. And please forgive his massive wallet. It is an Indian thing. Where else can he keep his Indian driving license?


Twilight Fairy said...

Make that do not mess with an unmarried indian :). You can make that unmarried Indian female too.. they also have fat empty/full wallets! :p :)

Anonymous said...

I worship you for being too damn hilarious. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

may be next time you can rap back to them in our tapori language. if luck is with you, u might end up bringing out a remix desi hip-hop album.

Swathi Sambhani aka Chimera said...

make that desi hip-hop with just a dash of punjabi in it and I thought that the easiest way to carry your indian licences is to make use of your wifey's handbag (don't tell me she doesn't carry one of those 'totes' around..)

RobRoy said...

Are Indian driving licenses notoriously large? Do they have sharp, titanium-alloy forged edges? Is there an Indian martial art that involves training with the driving license?

gawker said...

twilight : Yes but female wallets are inside their purse, which, by the way, would be a great weapon to have for situations like this.

anonymous : Thank you in return. I am humbled.

anand : Yes, I will train for the occasion and fill up both my pockets for incitation purposes.

chimera : Yes she does, but then if I want it back I'll need to give her a day's notice in advance just so she has adequate time to find it in there.

robroy : Yes, the Indian license is hardcore. You need an Indian weapons permit to possess it. And the weapons permit has titanium-alloy forged edges. We are a very violent people.

Mohan said...

good one! next time you are in India, try to get your license "book" replaced with a plastic card. Costs Rs. 150 or so.

zambezi said...

Mr numbskull, why do you still carry your stupid Indian license?

gawker said...

zambezi : where do you keep yours?

zambezi said...

i never had one either for a bike or a car. never bothered. for some reason, when i was younger i had a feeling that bangalore was the wild west and carrying a licnese wasnt actually necessary. dont know why i felt that way though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Man,
just stumbled on your blog, and man you are funny. I was in Philly last year (from Glasgow, UK) and it was brilliant.