"Ghetto" has been abused for the last few years, to the point that it's lost it's value. Today, it reared its head and made a valiant attempt to live again.
Sitting across the aisle from me on the train tonight on my way home was the person responsible for this gasp for air from a dying word. Let me share.
I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on around me. I came down with a cold today and by the end of the day, I had nothing left in me. The doors close and the train starts to move. I notice someone sitting across the aisle in the seat facing me. She's doing her hair. No big deal.
She starts talking, but nobody is sitting next to her. Not uncommon in Oakland, I witness several one sided converations, debates and arguments every time I step out of my office doors.
"Someone tried sitting next to me. 'Can I sit here?' 'Must you?'" She laughs.
Laughter and a "That's funny," comes from two rows back on my side of the car. Great, she has a friend and they're going to talk over everybody the whole ride home. It's already obvious who her world revolves around.
That's when I notice the pile of hair on her lap. "What the...?"
I slowly realize that she's unbraiding her weave and gathering the hair in her lap. Nasty.
Now I don't know if it's real hair. I know that some people use real hair in their weaves and that just grosses me out. Somebody decided that they didn't want their hair any more and had it cut off. Somebody else decided that they just can't wait for their own hair to grow out so they buy hair from someone else's head and have another person braid it into their own hair.
Maybe it's because I'm a guy. Maybe it's because my own hair grows so fast that I can't ever seem to keep it looking nice for more than a week after I get it cut. Maybe it's just because I can't imaging being able to thoroughly wash tightly braided hair. Maybe it's just because it's nasty. Whatever the case, it's gross.
"So, how's this redefining 'ghetto' " you ask?
As we pull into the Concord station, she decides that it's time to pack up since she and her friend are getting off in Pittsburg, two stops away. She reaches down for her mirror to check her work. To make sure that she's removed an equal amount from both sides and is even, I guess. Out from under her bag, she pulls.... the sun visor from a car. She flips the mirror cover open, holds it at arm's length to check her handiwork, decides that all is well, flips the mirror closed and shoves it back into her plastic grocery bag.
Yes, you read right. She had the visor from a car for a mirror. The kind that is bolted above the windshield of your car that you flip down to keep the sun out of your eyes while you're driving. She's actually carrying the whole thing around with her so she can do her hair. Or undo her hair. Whatever.
I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to wrap up this post. What kind of insight can I give, what life lesson can be learned?
The only thing that comes to mind was my thought at the time: