Kit-Kats and hugs

I found the beginning of this post in my Drafts folder. It’s over two years old, but I read it and got a kick out of it, so I figured I’d fix it up a little, append to it, and let it see the light of day.

I learned something new on the subway today. (Two years ago.)

I was on the Uptown 1 returning home after my second assignment at the (9/11) Memorial, when a young man walked onto our car. He was holding a box of Snickers and a large, filled Duane Reade bag.

“I’m unemployed and homeless,” he began his pitch, “and I’m selling these chocolate bars for $1.”  Thankfully, and I could see the nervous looks from my fellow straphangers, he assured us that if we only had “hundreds,” he’d accept them as well. I was impressed with his business savvy.

He continued:

“For all you white people, I have Snickers.  I know all you white people love Snickers.  And for all you colored folks like me, I have…” and he reached into the box and pulled out, “Kit-Kats!”  I was blown away. I had no idea!

This guy was clearly bigoted! And I was offended. Not only do I love Kit-Kats, but I wouldn’t go near a Snickers even if I turned into Betty White, Abe Vigoda, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minelli, Richard Lewis, Roseanne Barr, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Steve Buscemi or Danny Trejo.

I didn’t get anything from him. But it wasn’t because I was afraid to stand up for my love of Kit-Kats… it was because I had no money.

In related subway news, last Thursday was National Hug Day. I had had no idea until late that afternoon, when my wife and I were brought up to speed on the Downtown 1.

At 96th Street, a young woman moved to the center of our car and called out, “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention…”

Instinctively, my eyes started to roll and look away. It’s a Pavlovian response New Yorkers develop after years of riding the subway. After too many encounters with proselytizers who begin their pitch in much the same way this woman did, we’ve learned it’s better to avert your eyes and pretend you are already saved.

And she continued:

“Today an Oklahoma City police officer was given 263 years for the rape of 13 black women.”

“That’s right!” came a voice from behind us.

My wife and I weren’t sure where this was going. Neither of us were fearful, just a little anxious to hear what she was going to say given the sensitive nature of the topic, and aware of the possibility things could get spirited.

“And I want to tell every woman of color on this train that you are loved, you are beautiful, and you matter.” Then she repeated it slowly again, making eye contact with various women of color on the train.

I nodded in agreement. And exhaled.

“And today, for those of you who don’t know, is National Hug Day. Hug someone you love.  If there is anyone on this train that wants a hug,” and she opened her arms wide, “I will gladly give you one.”

This made me smile. I love hugs. I love giving them and getting them. It’s part of my regular salutation. Europeans give kisses on both cheeks, and I give hugs.

Several people took her up on her offer before we got to the next stop.  I could hear “can I have a hug?” from others further down the car. I contemplated going after her for a hug, but by the time I made up my mind, she was too far gone in the opposite direction.

It ultimately was not in the cards for me hugging this woman, but the moment gave me the warm feeling that hugs and Kit-Kats usually do. Mission accomplished. And World… it’s on!

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Dapper dandy

I found out David Bowie passed away when I woke last Monday morning. I get push notifications from the New York Times, so it was front and center on my cell phone when I reached to snooze the delightful sounds of “Timba.” Turns out news like that does what alarms for the most part don’t do – I got right up.

I’m a fan of Bowie, and I do like his music a lot. I think “Hunky Dory” and “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars“merit consideration as Best Albums of All Time, and a great number of his songs, especially my favorites, “Life on Mars?,” “Oh! You Pretty Things,” and “Starman,” as Best Songs of all time. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust,” too).

I can’t say for certain that Bowie was best known for Ziggy Stardust, but it was undeniable this character was very different. Ziggy was counter-cultural. His flamboyant actions and

1973-Bowie-onstage-as-Zig-009

Jamming good with weird and gilly…

outlandish dress  exposed his anima for public consumption and scrutiny – ultimately, the naysayers saying nay.

He showed great courage by being genuine on the public stage. It could’ve been mistaken as an act to promote his brand but the reality was, Bowie walked the walk. This was who he was, and this was his style. And he did it without needing validation.

My daughter has her own style, too. She likes to dress smartly. And by smartly, I mean she likes to wear collared shirts (golf or button down), slacks, loafers, a vest and/or a sports jacket. And sometime last year, after she created a line of craft paper bowties for our arts and crafts creation, Mr. Isaac Nosey, she decided she wanted to wear a bow tie, too. Every day.

Crawley

Short cuts and bow ties…

Her style also includes a pixie hair cut, which we encouraged her to get for the summer, and which she so adorably wears, and now won’t consider any other cut. In fact, I’d say anyone who knows my daughter probably can’t picture her any other way.

When she first started to dress this way, she told us it was because she wanted to “dress like a boy.” My wife and I are completely supportive of her fashion forward, unique style, but I wanted her to understand that she was not dressing like a boy. “You are dressing like you. And you happen to like wearing slacks, button downs, bow ties, etc.”

My wife and I quickly realized we had to support my daughter’s choice in clothing if we ever planned to emerge from our apartment. I joke, but what’s frustrating is that we’ll be relegated to shopping in the “Boys Section” and perpetuating stereotypes of what a girl should wear and what a boy should wear.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 1.47.21 PM

Thanks for the nod with the red color way but why Minnie and not Mickey?

I pick my daughter up from school on a regular basis. I’m extremely fortunate my schedule permits it (for the experience but to also spare us an additional expense). I absolutely love the moment she recognizes me in the sea of parents. Easily the best part of my every day.

Last week, as she was rumbling towards me, her oversized backpack in tow, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a father standing next to me embracing his daughter. Except he was watching my daughter; he had noticed her bow tie. He asked his daughter my daughter’s name, and it was apparent to me he expected a boy’s name.

I don’t begrudge his surprise because it’s not too often you see a child in a bow tie, let alone a girl in a bow tie,  but it was the couple of seconds after that annoyed me. I could tell he was looking her over in a shocked, almost disapproving way. I might be reading into this a little much, but I was just disappointed this man couldn’t simply smirk in a way to suggest “Right on, kid! Love the style!”

I love my daughter’s style. She looks really sharp. I won’t lie and suggest it wouldn’t be easier if she subscribed to the norm – my wife and I wouldn’t have to correct EVERYONE we run into that she’s our daughter, not our son – but as long as she loves her look, we do, too. World… it’s on!

Let the children lose it.

Let the children use it.

Let all the children boogie.