Eventually destiny for some become the late being. Others the very late being. That's life between Heaven and Hell.
When the being becomes a late being, the spirit transitions into Heaven or Hell.
Saturday night as I walked a Tenderloin street I was oblivious to my surroundings since I was conversing with delightful, always happy but intense Saleem over the phone; though really, I had no intentions of talking live to Saleem on the other side of the planet that evening...save my Android decided I would. It, without proper permission, dialed up Saleem's number when I was tucking it into my front pocket and was in the middle of doing something else.
So I am talking to cooler than a cucumber Saleem, my favourite nouveau person on the opposite side of earth. Hearing his great voice really does soothe the savage beast ticking inside of me like a time bomb and, yes, the spirit is calm and bliss afterwards like a gentle sea breeze stirring over Baker Beach on the hottest day. I am invigorated by our tireless conversation that is ageless between the gap of generation and colourless with intense curiosity and interest of each other's different cultures. I am both fascinated and uplifted by Muslim devotion. Much more extreme compared to Christianity who don't pray as much so many times in one day. Amazingly he seems to know more of me than I do of myself, never judges or make annoying suggestions which comforts me. So easily I forget I am here and not there.
Eddy street bustles on a Saturday night of people of every race, colour, creed, ethnicity and gender. A hip and somewhat nerdy white majority linger outside Exit Theater after a performance, a black majority of late teens and early-20 somethings make noise outside of a Arab-owned moms and pop that serves fried chicken. In front of Pandora and Underground 181, a large crowd of young Asians, mainly Filipinos and Japanese, gather with other Americans and Europeans, transgenders and gays. The balmy night is hotter than a firecracker and without a stirring breeze or fog to cool the skin.
In the distance another crowd at the corner of Eddy and Taylor, more young black and mixed race are leaning against a chain-link fence and every drug user and neighborhood alcoholic is seen here; there is a line of drug dealers/pushers, dominated by young black girls draped in winter coats with their black and blonde dyed-hair slick and stylish like they just got out of a beauty parlor. In their persons they hide a thousand dollars worth of happy rocks and pills for sale; guarding them and seemingly nonchalant about it, but really not, are boys and men who smoke blunts and sweet thin cigars laced with 420 and cocaine, and their over-sized pants hang half- down their backside exposing the brand of their macho underwear. I am wearing light blue shorts, a tiny darker blue short-sleeve knit shirt, flip flops and a beanie to help keep the headphones on that I purchased a few days ago.
I am trying to explain to Saleem why I did not intend to call him...and he wants to know why I didn't intend to call him. Why would I not want to speak or call him? Why? Well, I do want to talk to you...but I wasn't planning to talk to you just now. But why, he insisted. Why? Why not just now? That voice is like a truth serum. The way it probes me completely, I cannot tell Him a lie. Not like all those others...
Suddenly I hear a loud boom directly in my left ear. A pop that sounded like someone had gotten shot. Voices. None Saleem whom I could not hear anymore but noticed he sent a text: "soooo much noise...are you at a party?" Someone screamed, "you all right?" I wondered for a second did that person mean me. Then realized it was I who had been struck.
I figured then I had been shot, a random drive-by shooting. I just had not stumbled down to that filthy pee-soaked sidewalk. Where was pain I couldn't feel? I ducked, expecting to hear a second shot and thinking my brain had not been completely blown to smithereens.
All those voices and wide eyes watched me duck over again from an event I had not even seen and had happened to me.
A man rushed over, "Man, why the fuck did he do that?" It was then I realized I had been struck in the head with a cane by an angry black guy who apparently was high on drugs and was running through the streets attacking white people and Asians and me who wasn't white or Asian. The code I've been told in a black-majority Loin is for blacks to attack everyone else save other black people. Apparently, that code has been thrown under a bridge when it comes to Charles Pearson.
However, I was not injured by this unexpected assault. Thanks much, I supposed, to that awkward blue headphone and blue beanie Michael had given me for New Year's Eve in Oakland. And those two blues saved me from being knocked unconscious in the middle of the Tenderloin.
So I learned a lesson. When walking through the TL or anywhere for that matter, keep alert and your head up, wear a beanie and huge headphones and forget that black lives matter just in case a mad person goes postal on you...
The only life that really matters is your own.