Shout out to the good people of Glass, Lewis & Co. for placing a $170 order and not leaving a tip. @glasslewis ”
I think one of the most agonizing symptoms of my depression is the belief that I have somehow swindled or tricked every person I know into thinking I’m worth knowing.
In the dark moments, I think of myself not only as a valueless piece of shit, but that just through being myself I have hurt everyone I care about.
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Chapter 1: The Social Construction and Institutionalization of Gender and Race in Revisioning Gender (via aswekissgoodbye)
B-B-B-B-B-but Morgan Freeman said…!
I can’t speak for everyone’s experience, but I’ve been harassed, stopped, and once even sexually assaulted by police my entire life and I’ve never been arrested or prosecuted. This started when I was seven years old when I was sitting on a sidewalk bench downtown in the suburban town where I grew up and a cop that didn’t like the look of me threatened me with arrest if I didn’t move on.
"No one sits still in Charlie Walsh’s town." I’ll never forget that as long as I live.
When I was 12 years old I was stopped and searched by police because I was carrying a newspaper. They assumed it was full of drugs. They told me someone who looks like me doesn’t read the newspaper so it must have something in it.
Once I got my driver’s license things only got worse. I grew up poor and the only car I could afford was a real piece of shit. Safe and street-legal, but ugly; a poor person’s car. I went to high school in a rich town one over from the one I grew up in and a lot of my friends lived there. Every time I was out driving past about 11pm in that town I would get pulled over and my car searched. This is not an exaggeration. I would get pulled over once every other week or so for the two years of high school I had a license. I was told it was for a busted tail light; get home and find the tail light intact and working. I was told they were investigating a stolen car report. I was told they were investigating suspicious activity.
It kept happening to me in college, though less frequently. Once I refused to let them search my trunk (I was beginning to learn my rights) they made me stay pulled over for an hour and a half so that we could wait for the K9. (The police had given me the option: let them search my trunk or wait for the k9 to come and smell it out to give them probable cause but “it could take a while”.) The K9 never came, they gave me another chance to let them search my trunk before letting me go.
Every time they would pull me over, make up an excuse, search my car, harass me, and then send me on my way. I guess in that I was lucky; nobody ever tried to plant anything or assault me.
I was driving with some friends to a rave. None of us had any drugs on us, but the makeup, shit car, and weird clothes were enough for another illegal pull-over. This one was particularly nasty; we pulled over on the highway and when I rolled down my window the state trooper was using his cruiser’s PA system to yell out “There is a rest area just ahead! Pull in there!”
Me, circa 2000, the year of this event.
So we did, and the trooper had plenty of room to operate without traffic to worry about — or prying eyes.
It started with the trooper asking for a bribe.
Back in those days I’d cash my paycheck — literally. My wallet was stuffed full of two weeks of work in $20s. (Stupid, I know. I was young. Sorry.) The trooper saw this as I struggled to get my license out of my wallet.
"You know, this could all be over right now if you give me some of that."
"Uh. They’re mostly ones." I said.
"Oh, never mind then."
I offered my license and registration. He didn’t want them. He basically begged us for drugs for five minutes, telling us nothing would happen if we gave them up but that he’d arrest us all if he found anything and that he’d be searching the whole car and every one of us.
But none of us had any, which we told him again and again. He didn’t believe us.
So he took me out of the car and made me stand at the back of the vehicle. He searched me real thoroughly and I complied with all of his instructions. At one point he struggled to remove my zippo lighter from the double-deep zippo pocket on my crazy weird raver pants, which meant, in practical terms, he was groping at my groin.
"Would you like me to remove the lighter for you?" I asked.
"No, I’ve got it. I’m not a faggot or anything." He replied angrily.
Eventually he did get it out. He pulled it apart, removing the lighter from the casing to check the cotton reservoir for drugs.
"This is a great place to hide drugs." He said.
"Well, most police don’t know about it. But I do."
He still didn’t find anything. So he made me take off my shoes and socks and searched them. Still nothing. I didn’t have anything to find!
That’s when he grabbed my cock. He started squeezing it, fondling it.
"Is that you, son?"
"Yes sir, that’s me." I was terrified, disgusted, ashamed. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
"All right, let’s see it then."
Up until now I’d believed that the best, easiest way to deal with police and get on my way was to respond to every command and question with a “Yes sir.” and “No sir.” and to comply with every directive to which I was legally obligated.
This was the first time I hesitated. Why was he doing this? Could I say no? What were my options here? He had a gun. He was a state trooper. Fighting him on this wouldn’t bring anything good in my life and all I had to do was sacrifice a little shame.
I undid my belt, unbuttoned my pants, and showed this state trooper my penis. He shined his flashlight on it and we stood there, a surreal quiet moment where a state trooper and I considered my penis under harsh direct light in a rest area off of route 2 in Massachusetts.
"All right, put it away," he said.
He searched everyone else in the car, one at a time, making them stand at the front of the vehicle when he was finished.
I asked my passengers afterward and no one got the thorough inspection I did.
Once he had searched all of us he tore up the carpet in the back seat. It was an old, beat up car so it had come unstuck in one corner and he used that corner to tear up the whole carpet.
He ran our licenses. Nothing.
He let us all get back in to the car. He leaned in to my window and said “All right. I’m going to let you go.” like he was doing us some big favor.
And then he paused.
"But before I do, one of you has to give me a cigarette."
We all held our packs out promptly. He found the brand he preferred, took one, and sent us on our way.
The order came to just under $170. I was making sandwiches, another worker took the order and a third made the milkshakes and watched the grills. A line grew while we worked, and we had to tell other customers that their lunch orders would take longer than usual. They paid; I asked my co-worker who was dealing with the money how much of a tip they’d left. They had left actually no tip at all. (They had paid with a card so we checked the cash tips to see if there’d been a bump. There hadn’t.)
I asked some of the group as they were picking up their orders if they had intended to not tip. They hemmed and hawed and walked away.
Well. I could have not said anything. I could have made it a subtweet. I probably should have made it a subtweet. But I didn’t, because of some misguide:d notions about having “the courage of your convictions,” or whatever
Shout out to the good people of Glass, Lewis & Co. for placing a $170 order and not leaving a tip. @glasslewis ”
Two days later, I got a text from the owner asking if I was free to talk on the phone at some point. We spoke later that afternoon.
He told me that he’d gotten a call from the company, Glass, Lewis & Co. The company provides shareholder advisory services. Apparently, those employees were mortified that their lunch truck had tip-shamed them—the home office in San Francisco even got involved.
And it was unfortunate but he was going to have to let me go. The company has a way of doing things and he thought I’d understood that. I had embarrassed him and the company and that was that.
The conversation unfolding online about this event conveys one thing loud and clear : each poster’s quantity of experience surviving on a foodservice income.
ALL of this. Encourage people to try new words, to mess them up, to experiment with vocabulary, to learn complicated adjectives and verbs and nouns, because words are fun.
Also, don’t be a jerk.
This happens to me ALL the time, and my explanation is always “I read more than I talk.”
Agreed, but just sayin’ — this isn’t an issue if all you do is listen to the radio…
-Jody, BL Show-
I was never a dog person.
Cats are quiet, dignified, graceful. They are above you. They eat your food and when they want to be pet, they come to you. But cats are not yours. They belong to themselves. Raised in a house full of cats, the only domesticated animals I knew were aloof acrobatic roommates.
As a teenager, I described dogs as “the jocks of the domestic animal kingdom”. They were loud, menacing, strong, dangerous. Their interactions with the world was defined by their capacity for menace — just like that athletic kids I knew in middle and high school.
When I married a woman allergic to cats, I knew that my options were limited.
So when I went to the Harlem NYCACC, I was terrified. Large, toothy animals jumped at the bars of every cage, barking a cringe-inducing cacophony that filled the bleachy wet cement facility. Except one.
One dog in the pound was not barking, was curled in the shape of a doggie donut, scared of all the noise. When I knelt down to get a closer look at him, he pushed one limp paw through the bars at me, head down in shame and eyes up pleading for mercy. I held his paw in mine, and knew he was my dog.
I had no idea what I was doing. Like any good nerd, I spent a lot of time reading books and articles about dogs. Dogs are not cats. They look to you for cues, they watch you, they love you. Dogs need you to set a good example because they follow it closely. So I did my best.
Moksi was hostile when we brought him home. He had been beaten and abandoned by his former owner. Every time he attacked me, which was almost every day, I flipped him on to his back and straddled him, pinning him until he stopped struggling. After two months, he stopped attacking me when I came home. But that was only the beginning.
He ate and shit on and pissed on books, shoes, food, clothing, even kitchen utensils. One horrible day we came home and he had dug a hole through the middle of our futon couch, shat in it, danced in the scat and ran laps around the apartment. We tied him to a post in the middle of the room and used clorox wipes to clean up poo prints for hours.
After that day, we tied him to a post with his leash in the middle of our loft whenever we left the apartment.
Once. He chewed through his leash and was off again before we got home.
So we tied him to the post with a metal tether. For a while, we’d come home to a bloody mouth, bloody tether, and blood on the floor. Before too long he figured out he couldn’t chew through the metal, but it didn’t stop him from trying for weeks.
I learned that he needed more exercise, and so I ran with him 9-12 miles a week. That was the missing ingredient to his life, and with that we were able to lose the metal tether and leave him alone with free run of the apartment. He was well behaved with all that exercise.
I had always thought of dogs as hostile assholes, but Moksi opened the neighborhood to me. People who know me may be surprised to learn I’m an introvert, but on his 2-3 half hour walks a day, I saw things I never would have seen, explored the neighborhood I would have avoided or closed myself to, and met so many people I never would have spoken to.
There’s something about dogs, though, that allow even extroverted people an opportunity to talk to people they wouldn’t normally interact with. In daily life, and especially in New York City, people live in a bubble of privacy. We have to; there are so many of us, so close together, it’s a matter of mutual respect to treat all the people around you as if they’re not there.
But if you have a dog with you, something changes. A dog gives the world permission to strike up a conversation with you, even by proxy. People have had whole conversations with me, staring in to my dogs eyes, petting my dog, never once looking at me. And vice versa.
In the three apartments I’ve lived with him, Moksi allowed me entrance to the community and the community, in turn, was allowed access to me. Everything was permitted, sightseeing, exploration, even casual conversation with strangers, when Moksi was by my side.
Dogs are the embodiment of our best selves. They are loud and strong, the things I hated them for, as defensive mechanisms, as protection, but they are loyal and full of unconditional love. With few badly mistreated exceptions, dogs are forgiving. They don’t care about the mistakes you’ve made or the accidents you’ve had, they love you and want to be loved in return. They live in the moment, and encourage you to, too.
When Kaarin and I would hug each other at home, Moksi would run to us and shriek and cry until we asked him to join us. He was a sad dog, chronically depressed and whiny. He was unhappy unless we were touching him, and then he was the happiest dog in the world. So when it came time for him to go, we both held him until his heart stopped.
When the pink fluid that would stop his heart and brain flowed down the long, long crazy straw of his catheter and finally entered his arm I cried so hard that no sound came out. I was in agony. I held him close as the breathing slowed and stopped. And I started sobbing when it was clear that moment had passed and I wasn’t holding my dog any more, only meat.
The photo attached here was the last time we sat together. After we made our intention clear to euthanize Moksi and end his suffering, the vet left with him to install a catheter. When he returned a few mintues later, Moksi reacted as though he hadn’t seen me in a week. Even with all his pain and lethargy, he trotted and wiggled and wagged over to me, straining against his leash to be in my arms as soon as possible. I sat down on the floor and he immediately took his place as he had so many times before.
We snuggled and talked and I wished that it would end the way I had expected it to : with a shot, a round of medication, and an eyeroll at the exorbitant medical bill.
Moksi entered my life as $40 worth of dog on death row at a city pound, and left as a $200 “group” cremation. But the time we spent in between was time I’ll never forget that taught me about love, life, dogs, and myself.
Moksi was a good boy, and he made me a better man.