New Year's Eve
- A woman sitting across from me on the train headed downtown. She is wearing a black dress, beaded at the bottom, and is futzing with some loose threads. I watch as she carefully makes knot after knot, wondering why she doesn't just rip them loose. Does she know something I don't? I think to myself, "Pantelones would know about this." After a few more knots the girl does rip off the remaining threads. As the train slows to a stop she stands, and is holding a party purse. Small, black, beaded. Entwined in her fingers is a lace mask. I am intrigued and want to ask where she's going, if she is meeting somebody or has to walk in alone. I almost wish her a good time and a happy new year, and then don't.
- I am crossing the street, and there is a man crossing in the opposite direction. He is black, and pushing a big wheel ridden by a little girl whose legs are too short for the pedals. I immediately think of Oscar Grant. He has a shit-eating grin on his face as he pushes the girl, and she screams in glee. It's beautiful, and I want to tell him, "Go straight home. Don't go out tonight. Go home and lock the door."
It's wrong, of course. He should be able to put his daughter to bed and then go out to celebrate the New Year if he wants, secure in the fact that the only reason police are out is to answer people's questions when they're lost or want to know how late BART will run. It's wrong - it should be on the police to not shoot people, rather than on people to avoid getting shot by police. The whole thing leaves me sad.
- The last errand of the day is picking up soup for my sick self. I'm not the only one waiting - an old man is waiting with a toddler. He tells her and me at the same time, "My name is Zoe and I'm two." The girl very softly repeats him, so I crouch down and softly say, "Hi Zoe. My name is Green and I'm 37." The guy looks old enough to be her grandfather, but tells me not to get too close to his daughter and that the whole family is sick. Zoe tells me she puked, so we talk about puke for a few minutes while her father goes to check on his order. He comes back with a bag of food and tries to prompt his daughter to say happy new year to me as he puts on her jacket, but she won't. "I hope you and your family feel better." He smiles and thanks me. As they walk out holding hands, the girl turns back and mouths Happy New Year to me.