Saturday, September 29, 2007

my 'hood

on wednesday afternoon i was walking down 24th street in the mission, surrounded by families and kids returning home from school. behind me, i could hear a girl boasting about getting into fights and about the trouble she gets into at school. her stories were littered with "...and i'm all, don't be gettin' in my face" and "you just keep sayin' that..." in my mind, i pictured a tough-looking latina around 17 years old. overcome by curiosity, i slowed my pace to get a look at her.

barely an inch shorter than me, she looked to be around 15, and then she started telling her mate--who appeared to be about 8 years old--that some adult told her she "better stop fighting now, because when she enters high school..." i didn't hear the end of this missive, but was aghast that she was likely closer to 12 or 13 years old.

i continued to walk very close to them, wondering if their one-sided conversation (only the elder spoke) would shift to a new topic. it didn't. she continued her boasting about fighting and serving detention in school, and it became clear that the kid on the other side of this banter was her little sister or a relative. i wanted to grab the elder and ask her why she was doing this, filling this little girl with her tough talk.

and then the elder said, "...and then, she said only gay people do that."

i winced, expecting an exchange ripe with homophobic slurs. the little girl spoke up. finally.

"you're not gay, you're bi!"

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