Bum vs Lady

Walking to the train to the movies, there was an unpleasant altercation on the sidewalk. I was a block away, too distant to hear whether words came first, but some homeless guy pushed a well-dressed woman, she pushed him back, and they shoved and swung at each other a few times.

The bum tried walking away, but a man on the sidewalk grabbed him, and while he held him, the lady smacked the bum a few more times on his face, head, and back. Then he got loose from the man’s grip and ran off, and the lady climbed into a taxi, and it was over. Everything took a minute, max.

Post-fight analysis, on the train: I know some of our local bums, by face not by name, but this bum didn’t look familiar. He was a special guest bum, I guess. The lady wins, by unanimous decision. She was a tough dame, but she shouldn’t have to be that tough. The man who grabbed him did what strangers are supposed to do, got involved.

Would I have grabbed the bum, like he did? I don’t know. I think I’d be more likely to punch him than grab him, but there’s no knowing until it happens. Today I’d been too far away to help, but I had quickened my pace in their direction. I’m fat and it’s been years since I’ve actually run, so quickening my pace is the best I got. The whole mess was over, the lady was gone, the derelict was gone, before I got there or even got close.

I should’ve shouted, though. Yelling at them wasn’t even an idea in my head, until ten minutes later on the train. Too late by then. Living in a big city where crap like this happens sometimes, I need to be mentally prepared, and today I wasn’t. Should’ve shouted, damn it. Next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll at least shout. 

♦ ♦ ♦

At the Castro, I'll have a big bucket of buttered popcorn please, and some Red Vines, and a Roman Polanski double feature. 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) stars Mia Farrow as a pregnant housewife whose unborn child may or may not be the spawn of Satan. With the marvelous Ruth Gordon putting a comical spin on everything, you’re never quite certain whether Farrow’s gone batty, or whether there might be some grounds for her paranoia. Except, it's a movie, so you know Satan will make an appearance.

It’s a classic thriller, and often the so-called classics disappoint me when I finally get around to seeing them, but this one did not disappoint. "The miracle of birth,” as everyone calls it, can be terrifying when viewed just slightly askew. 

On another level, Rosemary’s Baby is also about the vulnerability of being a woman in a very paternalistic world, with decisions made for you by the loving husband and the male doctors. Ms Farrow doesn’t get to decide much for herself. It’s a subtext as eerie as the movie’s surface-level plot, and more true to life.

The Castro’s program had advertised Rosemary’s Baby as a new print, but it wasn’t. It was scratchy, and so warped that only one side of the image could be focused at any moment, as it spooled under the lens. If you’ve seen lots of old movies, you’ve occasionally seen warped prints like this. It’s a fact of old movie life, but several people in the audience kept shouting “Focus!”

On my way downstairs for a wizz between the movies, three guys had the manager cornered in his office, demanding their money back. Which is stupid another way — you don't get to watch the whole movie, and then ask for a refund.

Maybe because of the fight on the sidewalk earlier, or maybe because I was pretty sure these were the bozos who’d been shouting “Focus!”, I had to butt in. “You the manager?” I asked the chubby blonde guy (who was obviously the manager). He eyed me sadly, started to apologize for the print, and the angry men smiled, believing incorrectly that they’d gained an ally.

“Well, I’m not here to ask for my money back,” I said, more to the morons than to the manager. “If a theater shows old movies, they’ll get a crappy print now and then. Big fucking deal. It’s still a great movie, and my only complaint is the jerks shouting ‘Focus!’ like barking dogs, when focus was obviously not the problem.” That was fun. Then I peed and came back upstairs for the second feature.

The Tenant (1976) is one of those intense internal dramas where not a lot happens, except inside someone's mind. It's about a quiet, introverted guy (hey, I resemble that) taking an express elevator down to the depths of insanity (maybe I resemble that, too). Starring Polanski himself, it’s set in the wacko world of tenement life, where the new guy in the building is unpopular with his neighbors, annoyed by his landlord, and possibly possessed by the spirit of a lady who jumped to her death out the apartment window. Except for that last part, it could’ve been filmed on location in my life.

Complete with Polanski in drag, it might not sound like a delightful way to spend two hours, and indeed it’s not. It gave me goose bumps, though, and the ending was wild, so I’d maybe, maybe recommend The Tenant. I still don’t know what was going on with the movie’s communal toilet down the hall, though.

♦ ♦ ♦

Hey, I got a post card from Kallie. “I’m camping at Tannery Gulch and having more fun than you’re having at work. Ha ha!”

From Pathetic Life #6
Saturday, November 19, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

← PREVIOUS          NEXT →


← PREVIOUS          NEXT →

No comments:

Post a Comment

🚨🚨 BY THE WAY... 🚨🚨
The site's software sometimes swallows comments. If it eats yours, send an email and I'll get it posted.