This morning I was on my own. I was early to my destination so I stopped by a local 7 11 for coffee. It had been five years since entering this store. I also needed to break a twenty-dollar bill that has been in my wallet for a few weeks. While walking back to my car I put two fives in my purse, for the event, and held on to the rest. I looked up from my car and saw a black man with a trash bag and a smile.
His hand was held out to me. I smiled back and walked up to him and asked if this is what he needed. I gave him some money. He hugged me lightly and then kissed my head with a blessing. I smelled the street on him and felt his gentle humanness. He asked if I was going to church. I told him no, but that an artist was speaking at a local synagogue on creation stories.
At that moment, a white man in his late sixties yelled something. I looked around at him and assumed that he and the man, I was talking to, were friends. The light changed to a darkness. My heart went from cheerfulness to a confrontation unwanted. This man was saying some strange things to me.
“Did you know that man is a convicted felon. He has a record. I am glad I am here to save you from him!”
This new man’s conduct shocked me. He was rude, aggressive and was insulting this heartfelt, other man. The black man slowly disappeared as a soft breeze. It seemed to me that he was not about to confront or cause any trouble. Yet the white man continued to slowly insult me. He approached me. I told him to step back and that I was not interested in what he had to say.
I told him that I was not interested in what he had to say because he had no evidence that the other man had a record. He had no evidence he was a convicted felon.
“But we have been watching him, the valley is not what it once was!”
I asked him who the “we” were. This man did not have an answer. His tongue turned to a mouth of bigotry, hate and slander. He affirmed to me he voted for Trump. I guess he saw my Bernie for President bumper sticker. Was this giving him a justification to verbally attack me?
Today the eyes of heartlessness and political darkness…. did not recognize the kind hand of humanity.
Here in the San Fernando Valley on Vanowen Street.
A few moments later I was in the synagogue. The irritating confrontation faded and art, creation stories and depth mythologies enlivened my soul again.
I learned about a new artist today. His name is Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis.