to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 9. windshield wipers slappin' time (by jenny yang. saturday, november 9th, 2013)
“windshield wipers slappin’ time, i’s holding bobby’s hand in mine…”
janis joplin was a lady i saw on vh-1. apparently she was a big deal back in the hippie days of America. the first time i heard bobby mcgee was when my friend kate sang it at the karaoke bar just outside of UCLA. my immigrant ways never exposed my ears to music before the 1980s - especially the stuff of white hippies of the 60s and 70s but dang. this janis was soulful.
this lyric was the soundtrack to my first portland bus ride. we were under a gray blanket of rainclouds and everyone on the bus looked cranky even if they were used to this kind of shitty weather.
the wiper blades of the bus almost lulled me into a nap if it wasn’t for the bickering a couple rows down from me.
“motherfucker, you only paid for one seat. you need to put your dog down!”
uh oh. it was an older black man who was yelling at this bald and bearded white guy who had a tiny chihuaha sitting next to him on the bus seat. and this older black man who was yelling at him with a gap-toothed lisp.
“that is a dog. it is not a person. and you paid for one seat. there are people who need seats!”
dogowner guy stared back in silence when this other white guy decided to chime in, “Hey. We are all just cool.”
the older man was confused, “i am talking to this motherfucker right here not you. he needs to put down his dog. this bus is for people and these seats are for people. we are not here for the dogs...what kind of world builds seats for the dogs, you need to put down that dog. the dog is a piece of shit they eat shit and you have it sitting next to you like it’s another person this is not…”
“sir.” oh lord. white bystander man had to interject again and this does not look good, “sir. what if i gave you a dollar to buy this guy’s seat?”
NUH. UH. WHY did this random other white guy just offer a dollar to shut up this older black man.
“i don’t want your motherfucking dollar! MOTHERFUCK. who’s this asshole trying to give me money for this dog! i don’t want your motherfucking money?! this ain’t about money! how you gonna give me money. you only bought one seat and you don’t put no dog on no seat!”
all i could do is stare off to the side and pay no mind because i was not trying to send over energy to encourage any escalation of this situation. just put the dog down on the floor you dumbass is all i could think in my brain. shit. no more janis joplin on the brain.
After another minute of the older black man yelling at both the dog owner and the intervening white dude, the dog owner FINALLY puts his dog down on the floor and got off the bus at the next stop.
that was my first person of color experience in a very white portland. i did not know what this city had in store for me.