Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Real-Life Scenes from Stu's Life in Harlem

1. Stu and I are in a park in Harlem. Stu has just recently come out as gay. He is telling me how hard it is to deal with his sexual identity crisis, how being gay has altered his fundamental conception of self and will change some people's perception of him, but fortunately we live in a tolerant and open society, he'll figure it out and it'll be alright.

We walk toward the park's exit contemplatively. Three young kids from the projects approach us.

Bodie-esque Hopper: Hey yo, is it gay for a twelve year old boy to hold hands with another boy?

Wallace-esque Hopper: It's not gay, I just like holdin' hands with my friends!

Poot-esque Hopper: So which is it?

Stu: Oh it's not gay to hold hands with another boy; it's just a bit unusual
(Stu starts to walk away, grinning at having taught a lesson of tolerance)

Bodie-esque Hopper: See, even that white dude think you a faggot, faggot.

2. Stu and I exit Stu's building and a project resident approaches Stu.

Project Resident: Hey my man, you hear my brother Randall he out of the hospital now, doctahs say he gonna make a full recovery.

Stu: That's wonderful!
(Stu begins to walk away)

Project Resident: So, uh, I was wonderin' if maybe you had a dollar to spare because I've got this train I gotta... (trails off)

(Stu gives Project Resident a dollar)

This exchange made me realize that even though this Project Resident probably doesn't use e-mail, his interaction with Stu was the proto- "e-mail where you ask for a favor but throw in some meaningless personal bullshit first in the form


Hey buddy,

Long time no see. I've been keeping busy, you know this and that. Randy might get a promotion at work, so that's exciting. How're things with Jenny going?

Anyway, I had this idea for an article for Slate and I know you're tight with those guys so I was just wondering if you could maybe pass it along with a little note of approval, you know no big thing.

p.s. we gotta hang out more!"

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