Friday, October 28, 2011

CONSTRUCTION

Drills rat-tat-tat as I approach the intersection. Traffic is slowed amid the mild mayhem and I'm just gonna jaywalk this thing but oh shit, there's a cop. I'll wait. This fall morning is too refreshing for conflict. A teen in a toque bounds past me, zipping across the street, zipping by the cop. I don't have his balls. I wait. Green light's mine. I go.

YOUNG COP: Hey, I said hold on. You don't speak English?

I stand in the middle of the street and stare at him. I'm gonna say something... Terrible Cantonese? Gibberish Mandarin? Instead:

ME: I didn't hear you. Yeah I speak English but what if I didn't?

YOUNG COP: I told you to wait.

ME: Not everyone speaks English.

He waves a car past.

YOUNG COP: You might as well go, you're already in the middle of the street...

ME: You can't assume everyone speaks English, my friend.

The bearded hipster passing me smiles in solidarity.

Assuming everyone speaks English is insulting. The tyranny of English is insulting. The cop goes back to his job with outstretched arms. Either I'm not worth his trouble or he gets me. Both. His parents or grandparents probably don't speak English. He looks Portuguese.

I added "my friend" 'cause I'm not in the mood for fisticuffs and handcuffs.

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