Forget the heat (the sticky, cloying, humid, salt crusting heat; which even wearing kilts only ameliorates a little). Forget that gardening in such heat is an exhausting pleasure (the blueberries are doing well, so too are the potted dill, and the seeds which drifted to odd places, and the za’atar, and the basils, and rosemaries [I should plant some rue]. The asparagus seems to have recovered from being attacked by something a couple of weeks ago. The grape is in riotous leaf, and the bunches swell apace. The tarragon spreads, poppies work their way to flowering. All is well in the world of plants).
Forget the vicissitudes of politics. The rage at the Voting Rights Act being overturned, and the joy at the same being done to DOMA, and the mixed joy of Prop 8 being killed by inaction. Ignore the continuing hackeries and hypocrisies of Scalia, and the fatuous reasoning of Alito. Try to ignore that Texas didn’t even wait until the next day to start crafting vote limiting legislation (and that N. Carolina, Virginia and Mississippi jumped on that bandwagon today).
Set aside the emotional roller coaster of Wendy Sweet’s, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” filibuster, and the tricks used to kill it; and that those tricks failed because people joined in the effort, and held the fuckers’ feet to the fire (people stood up to be counted, with, Sen. Sweet). All of those are true.
And all of those are exhausting (cheese, bread, and bacon; with coffee, are helping. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, but I can hold off on the whisky for a bit longer). But I had some personally unsettling today.
On the way to the train with MBF (it’s a semi-regular ritual that I walk her to the train before I get coffee/garden) someone called out to us. It was a sort of strident tone, so we turned. I thought he was going to ask somthing about my kilt. He asked if I was wearing a knife; in a judgemental sort of tone. And then he came back, from about 10 meters away, and started to lecture me, about how Jersey City is safe, and he’s lived her all his life and I don’t need to worry, and “you don’t need to carry a knife to defend yourself.”
I was just short of dumbfounded. Today’s knife is so NOT a knife for fighting. (Among other things it’s not quite 3″ long (blade), and sort of stumpy). I probably looked through him as I said, “it’s for that”, with as much disdain as I could muster. MBF said he “tried to look up your kilt” as he walked away. When that registered I asked, “really”. She said he’d stared at me, and my kilt, as we left.
Which caused me to wonder at it some more. The knife seems to have not been his real interest, when I think about it. Until I turned to face him, my knife wasn’t all that visible. Maybe he noticed it at my belt. Maybe he’s practiced enough to have IDed it at 20ft or so, but he had to have turned around to look at me, since he was coming from the off-side. If he’d not turned around, he can’t have seen it, not unless he has X-ray vision.
So I think it was my kilt, and my hair (long, and it was down) which really got his attention. I don’t know quite what to make of it, but it is the sort of thing to make one a little uneasy. If I were wearing a knife for self defense his manner would so not have made me think it was less necessary.