Getting Played

April 17, 2008

These WWI soldiers were sent “home” to scenic, segregated Houston.
Their unwillingness to acquiesce to Jim Crow street cars and policing erupted into the “Camp Logan Mutiny” of 1917.

Yesterday, on the A train, I was squashed next to a man who was absorbed in a book entitled “Blacks in America’s Wars.” While I was trying to read the name of the book’s author, i noticed that the man was turning pages right to left, rather than left to right, and that when he paused, his eyes darted around the page, resting on a word here an there.

There were only two possible explanations for this that I could think of: 1) He cant read, but he’s trying anyway. Or trying to look like he is reading for some reason.

or 2) He’s read this book so many times that he’s flipping through the book and reminding himself of well-loved sections or ideas contained therein.

In either case, it seemed high time for me to bother strangers, a favorite activity of mine. Ironic, I know.

Artb213: “That looks like an interesting book.”

Man on the train: He holds up cover, so I can see it, “Its about wars.”

A: “Is it any good? I’ve read a different book on the same topic and I learned a lot of things I didn’t know.”

M: “I’m a soldier, so I already knew a lot of it, but yeah, its an interesting topic. Its a played topic. This shit is getting played.”

A: “Yeah, you’re right. It can seem like its the same thing over and over again. One thing I learned in the other book that I didn’t know was that Black vets from WWII came home pissed off and started the Civil Rights movement. I hope that part happens over again.”

M: (Looks at me like I’m a little crazy) “Well, people are pissed off. I’m pissed off…I’m getting out here. Have a good day!”

A: Have a good day!

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