Don’t embarrass your brother

It’s been a strange summer in New York; cool temperatures and constant rain have made it feel more like fall. Not being a big fan of heat in the 90s I haven’t really minded, except that the rain is making my suede shoes look awful, and it makes the soles slippery.  So slippery that I recently slid and fell as I ran in to the rush hour 7 train, right at the entrance as the doors were closing. A passenger helped me up, and I was terribly embarrassed to see all eyes on the crowded car turn to me.

I was trying to muster up a bit of dignity when a woman sitting across from me spoke up. “That was a pretty bad fall!” I smiled and said I was okay – which, except for my embarrassment, I was. “You took a pretty serious tumble! Your knee’s all messed up!” I looked down, thinking that my jeans might have gotten dirty, but didn’t see anything. “I bet it’s hurting now,” she continued. “I saw how you fell and it looked bad!” I smiled again and said I was alright. “Why don’t you take my seat?” I looked around and saw that everyone was still looking at me. “No, really, I’m fine,” I answered, smiling still.

She jumped up from her seat and grabbed my arm. “For fuck’s sake, take my seat, brother! Sit down!” The term “brother” made me realize that if I wanted her to stop humiliating me I would just have to accept her offer. Who the hell calls strangers “brother” anymore? I sat down and thanked her. “On the house!” She boomed, taking my place by the door. Then she turned to the guy sitting next to her and said, “everyone is out of it today!” He looked up and removed his headphones to hear what she said, and she snapped, “everyone is out of it, listening to their fucking music!” Then she looked across, somewhere to the left of me, and told someone I couldn’t see to “Fuck off!”

Brother.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to encourage strangers to not be so aggressive in being kind, and to remind everyone out there except for my one official sibling that I’m not your brother. Thank you.

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