Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Some People's Minds Just Go

I was riding the bus this afternoon, and we were stopped around 46th Street. There were these two high school girls outside arguing about something, loudly, and we on the bus were all staring, grinning and amused. So that gets this old guy talking: "We never used to see things like that. I'm sixty-nine years old, and we never used to have anything like that. Those were the days. You could go see a movie for a nickel, and you could ride the bus for a dime. And there was no crime. You could ride your bike through Flatbush at three in the morning..." And on and on and on, long after it got awkward listening to him.

I did some math. If he's sixty-nine years old, he was born in 1935, right in the middle of the Great Depression. Yeah, those certainly were the days. A third of the population out of work... and I guess no one was arguing loudly back then either.

Selective memory: In the forties, there was a little thing called World War II; in the fifties, the Red Scare. And I'm willing to bet that there really was crime back in the day, too. Weren't there gangsters and whatnot? Furthermore, this old guy was white, so he didn't even have to worry about discrimination, although I'm not sure how prevalent that was in New York. Good times.