Favorite White Trash Moments #2

2. Place: Commerce Street, probably at the corner of Akard or Ervay. At 17, I strolled almost halfway across a busy downtown crosswalk, intending simply enough to reach the other side. Normally that’s a reasonable agenda, right? Alas, seldom does the expected order prevail on a big city street in the summer.

A businesslike, gray-haired chap in a shiny Cadillac, wearing a crisp suit and tie and what appeared to be a very expensive gold watch, pulled partly into the crosswalk. The pompous old geezer glanced at me with disgust, shot his nose into the air, then pulled the front end over the entire crosswalk, blocking it. Mighty brave thing to do to a street kid, that deliberate act of petty snobbery. Undeterred, I simply jumped onto the hood, walked across it, hopped off, and began to resume my stroll.

“Excuse me, do you know what you just did?!” I heard, in one of those nostalgically regal voices resembling a 1950s era network news announcer. As he leaned over to his passenger window, glaring at me, I stared straight into his eyes and calmly but firmly responded, “Yeah, this,” then walked back across his hood going the other way. His purse-lipped, squinty eyed expression of disbelief and disgust lives indelibly in my mind. He shot away from that intersection like a torpedo as soon as that light turned green, and I melted back into the crowd. Certainly I would have a harder time getting away with something like that as a late teenager today, in this era of camcorders mounted on almost every building and light fixture, and of course, drivers with cell phones!

Do you suppose I was considered for his list of invitees to afternoon tea at his polo club?

I think a scene much like that since has appeared in a movie; for I vaguely recall the accompanying deja vu. Perhaps the screenwriter was inspired by a scene he witnessed in 1983-84 in downtown Dallas.


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