Sunday, July 06, 2003

I ran out of ink yesterday, and discovered to my dismay that there were no fine-tip pens left in the empty yogurt cup that serves as my pen holder. Writing letters in pencil seems like bad form, though I'm sure I'd be forgiven. I finished the letter with the one pen I had left which contained ink. It was a medium-point rollerball, which is barely fine enough to lend my script the appearance of legibility, and I thought as I sealed the envelope Tomorrow I'll visit Staples.

Actually, I thought I would visit Target. But the pen and pencils aisle in Target offered only glitter pens and colored pencils, and the local Staples is just across the street from Target.

Now I have new ink cartridges, lead, erasers, a box of disposable pens, and a pair of discounted earbuds to replace my headphones. My old headphones are a Frankensteinian contraption now, held together as much by layer after layer of masking tape as by the original plastic. The sound in the left earpiece sporadically fails, too. The earbuds work nicely, but it still took me a few minutes of contemplation to decide to spend the five dollars to buy them. Once I've repaired something, I feel a certain attachment to it -- even if I the quality of the repair is questionable.

As I unlocked my bike outside Staples, some guy rode up on another bike and started shouting at me. Apparently, he felt insulted that I'd been staring at him. Given that I didn't notice him until he started shouting, my first fleeting thought was that I ought to have the prescription on my glasses adjusted. It has been a few years. I decided my vision might not be degrading so quickly after all when he continued by stating his intention to break my Jewish homosexual nose. I think he called me a leper after that, though I'm not sure. It would be exciting if he did. I've been mistaken for Jewish before, probably partly by my appearance and partly by my given names. I don't know if I've ever been mistaken for homosexual. But I'm sure I've never been mistaken for a leper, or even called a leper as an attempted insult.

Anyhow, I don't think we need to worry about this gentleman becoming a major demagogue; he becomes incomprehensible when excited. Since he was still straddling his bike, it seemed unlikely that he had a clear notion of the next step in his nose-breaking plans. He didn't seem to be carrying a weapon, and he had no jacket or backpack in which a weapon would be easily concealed. Even were he serious, it would have taken him at least a few seconds to dismount and move into punching range. So I released my grip on my U-lock, zipped my bag, and rode off. He followed for a block, but then stopped shouting -- from laziness, boredom, hoarseness, or a sense of victory, I know not and care not. He wasn't following me any longer by the time I reached the next light.