*My friend calls this neighborhood Inwood Farms – hilarious.
The bum couple in my neighborhood think they’re the neighborhood’s honorary bums. People coming home from work stop to have forty-five minute conversations with them. During these conversations they pause to wave or to say hi to people.
I think people talk to them for a cheap show of magnanimity. Look at me everybody. I don’t have problems talking to bums. I talk to Frank the bum but never this long. I dare these people to invite Mr. and Mrs. Bum to their homes.
The man said hello to me once because I made eye contact. It irritated me. He looked wounded when I didn’t continue to speak to him or his wife. I think they silently scolded me with their little puppy dog homeless faces. Nothing against bums – I love Frank, and the other bums are cool. Hell I might just be a bum myself at the rate things are going in this country.
For a long time they lived in the 207th Street subway station. Transit workers played chess with the husband by the elevator. People stood around watching. I love chess. I played naked chess with my computer, listened to death metal and ate olive oil toast every night before blogging. But never would I play chess with that bum. Number A: on the subway station benches he had biblical placards. And Number B: one said Halloween was the devil’s holiday. So you take up space in the subway station, proselytize AND put down my favorite holiday.
They live on the benches by the park now. The husband plays chess on the park wall. Sometimes there are two or three games going at once. You’ll find the wife waddling back home sweet home with a cart full of groceries during the games – maybe she’s got hors doeurves and crudite in there for the boys.
Sometimes when it rains they’re hidden behind rain slickers, garbage bags and two gigantic umbrellas. If you didn’t see two pairs of feet underneath you might think there was just a heap of crap on the bench. They must get along really well to be able to sit so close.
But I’ll bet that husband could show me some mean chess moves. He reminds me of a guy I was infatuated with who also played chess. He and his wife are tall and heavy. This guy was too, with a deep voice and big feet. I joked that the bum couple reminded me of me and this guy. He was in financial trouble and I had taken this job making half the money I used to make. I had some strain myself. So we’d be together – broke.
I said to someone, “I think I hate them because I’m afraid I’ll become them.” But no, I just don’t like them. Sue me for not liking a downtrodden married bum couple. It’s far more evil to use bums to demonstrate your bullshit magnanimity.