April 29, 2008

Hectored on the Streets

Now, for the fourth time in three weeks, I have been verbally mocked for my hair. What exactly they take exception to is a mystery, but it feels more like middle school. Indeed the first two hecklers were middle-school-aged black girls on the streets of Berkeley, both times giggling to their friends "Hey, nice hair."

The third time was on the #5-Ocean Beach bus in San Francisco. A thirty-something black man with dreadlocks, accompanied by a portly white girl, yelled, with heavy mean sarcasm, "Nice Hairdo!" I replied "Thanks," with a cutting eyebrow-raise. After I got off the bus, two perfect repartees came too late to me, the first more surreal - "Nice dreadlocks, very Nineties..." - the second, possibly would have gotten me punched in the face - "Yeah, & nice fat white girlfriend..."

Anyway, it's stung any time, every time. And I was creeping towards the conclusion that, as I explained to my friend Miss Waswo, "black people just don't get my hair." But then today, up on San Pablo Avenue in Albany, California, where I was walking for undisclosed purposes, a white man with a white beard stopped his car to point at me, Uncle Sam style, & yell "YOU... need a haircut," then maniacally drove off.

At this point, I should include a photo of my hair today, but I'll leave it up to your imagination. I remind the reader that I have a career in catering! & if it doesn't offend my employers or their clients, it should be okay for the man on the street. Instead, I'll break into song:

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