The Red Hour


Yesterday morning, I was a little grumpy while waiting for my bus. The night before, it had not only been late but also driven right by my stop, although five people had been standing right there. It wasn’t full or anything; the driver had just obviously gotten confused about his route. Because the TTC’s complaint line conveniently closes at 5:00 p.m., I’d had to delay my call until the morning, so I was getting worked up for that.

As I waited, a teenager walked across the crosswalk in front of me and very conspicuously dropped a piece of garbage in the middle of the street. “Hey!” I said. He turned and looked. “You littered!” I said. He turned around, walked back, bent down, picked up his litter, and walked off with it in hand.

Damn right, I thought. I’m not taking any garbage today. Not in my neighborhood.

Immediately after that — like a second later — this woman came around the corner. She looked at me as she passed by, and hissed, “You fucking queer!

“You fucking queer! We don’t want you here! You homosexual! Get out of my neighborhood! Go back where you came from!”

At first, I was bemused. I’m not gay. Am I giving off that vibe, though? I did have to borrow my girlfriend’s Lady Speed Stick that morning after running out of my own deodorant. Could it be that? Or was her gaydar just badly wired, the way the rest of her obviously crazy brain seemed to be?

Also, go back where I came from? Isn’t that mixing up her racist rhetoric with her homophobic rhetoric? What country are queers even supposed to come from? Queerland? Gay Island? The United States of Homosexuals?

So, first I was perplexed. Then, I just got furious. How dare she talk to me like that? How dare she talk to homosexuals like that? I felt the adrenaline start coursing through my veins, and thought, It is time to out-crazy the crazy lady.

“What the fuck did you just say?” I asked.

She gladly repeated it. Did she ever. And then some.

It was just this inexplicably hateful, vicious stream of homophobic invective from a crazy, evil bitch. But just because she’s crazy and evil, that doesn’t mean she gets to be a bitch. I don’t use that word a lot, but for her, I was completely willing to make an exception. So I let her have it right back. “Fuck you, bitch!” I said. “You get out of here. Get the fuck out!”

I should note that, had this happened a day later, I might have said something like, “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Do you know who I am? I’m Peter fucking Lynn! I run this goddamn town! I can destroy you! You are nothing! You are done! Finished! You will never work in this town again!” Since last night, I’ve been obsessed with blowing my stack like an arrogant movie mogul, for some reason. But at the time, I just went a more traditional “Fuck you” route.

It went on for a bit. She kept walking, but she wouldn’t quit talking. I was furious. Was it wise to argue with an obvious lunatic? Of course not. But it felt glorious to let myself get incredibly angry for no real reason than that she was a crazy, evil bitch who deserved it. So I started walking behind her, chasing her out of the neighborhood, just so I could keep telling her to fuck off. “Stop fucking following me, queer!” she said.

“Guess what?” I said. “I’m not queer. I’m not leaving, and I’m not going to stop following you until you get the fuck out of my neighborhood, you goddamn bitch.”

Then I hit her in the back with a snowball.

I saw my bus coming then, and by this time, I was about half a block away from my stop, so I had to dash back, which I’m sure she interpreted as cowardice. As I got on, I could see her in the distance, standing there and yelling at me.

To be continued, bitch, I thought. As I said, I don’t take any garbage in my neighborhood.

By the time I got to work and made my call to the TTC, I was completely calm. I’d completely expended my fury for the day. So that call was the most cordial complaint I’ve ever made. It was like that Star Trek episode with the planet where everyone goes berserk for a hour a day, then is creepily super-polite and sedate for the rest of the time, smiling, tipping their hats at each other, and saying, “Joy to you, friend. Peace and contentment.”

And, wouldn’t you know it, the bus arrived at my stop right on time that night. I think those creepy Star Trek folks might have been onto something with their “red hour” business. The system works.

8 Responses to “The Red Hour”

  1. You like really through a snowball?

  2. Obviously I meant to type threw.

  3. 3 Peter Lynn

    Yes, though the snowball-packing conditions weren’t optimal, so it broke up in mid-air and became more of a snow shower.

  4. Jesus… when I need to deal with my crazy downstairs neighbour, I know just who to call to put her in her place. (I hope you’re not allergic to cats, ’cause she’s got about four of ’em.)

  5. 5 imandolin

    Suddenly I feel like moving to Toronto so I can swear at strangers and hit old ladies with snowballs. I am jealous, and i’m telling on you. Haha.

  6. Homosexuals come from Queensland.

  7. 7 hilly

    Lacking a blog of my own and the time to start and maintain it, I’m going to use this space as a “red hour” to reflect my thoughts about my current job situation, amongst other things:

    Fuck. Fucking fucker is fucked to all fuck. FUCK. FUCK! FUUUUUUCK!

    Thank you. It’s really not as bad as all that — I’m just frustrated.

  8. Of course the other response could have been “You and I are done professionally.”

    I’ll never forget the time I was on my way university in the mid-90s and some crazy person walked up to me, stood toe to toe, prodded me in the chest and said “Ah — and your mother too.” Then turned on her heels and walked away.

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