There’s a clever little short story that made an impression on me as a young college kid, just fresh out of the closet, just beginning to figure out how to use my newfound super powers. (For good? For evil. For good? For evil. Good? Evil…)
It’s called Am I Blue? In it, all the gay people are blue, and the narrator is trying to figure out if he (or is it she?) is blue too. I think he (or she) is a sort of pale blue, somewhere in between. Anyway, it’s not the gender the matters, but the concept: What if we were all suddenly revealed? (Bearing in mind, of course, that some of us reveal ourselves just fine without any trouble at all, thank you very much. We can’t help ourselves!)
There are a ton of us. It would be a big damn blue planet.
(Oh … wait. Too late.)
What would happen if we were all suddenly revealed in a way that was obvious to everyone? Say… by our absence? What would it be like if gays stayed home? Here’s something some of my more clever colleagues cooked up:
I, of course, cannot call in. I am a professional homosexual at my little gay network, and I am already fighting the good fight! We have to keep those gay wheels turning, or the entertainment industry would shut down. It’s the gay people in non-gay jobs that could make a difference. We’d notice the school teachers, security guards, bank tellers, bus drivers — certainly the waiters.
If all the gays stayed home, we’d all be a little blue.
I am notorious in my own mind for leaving my card in the ATM. When withdrawing money, people are usually given their cards back these days before they are given their money — I think. Wasn’t always this way. It’s one of the great technological innovations of the last five years or so, in my opinion. Still, however, when making deposits at an ATM, we are not given our cards until after we make the deposit. The banks want their money. They don’t want people to make phantom deposits to give themselves a temporary bonanza of Monopoly money before the beancounters figure it out the next day.
So, when I make a deposit at an ATM, I almost always forget my card — until the machine starts squawking or beeping at me. There was a period a few years back when I lost my ATM card once a month for three months. It wreaked havoc on my online billing accounts. I have since recovered.
This is not to say that I am never forgetful when making withdrawals.
Tonight, when I left the ATM anteroom, I reflected rather pridefully that I didn’t forget my card. (It’s the little things, right?) However, the shocker came when a young woman ran up behind me a full block away from the bank, calling, “Sir? Sir!” to inform me that I had left the ATM without my money.
I thought she must be talking about someone else. But when I checked my wallet, the $40 I had just taken out was indeed not there. I gasped audibly.
“Some people have your money,” she said. “The people who came behind you. They’re at the bank looking for you.”
I thanked her profusely.
Then she gave me perhaps the funniest bit of information: “They’re tourists.”
I made a run for the bank.
Was that final detail meant to help me recognize them? Or was she drawing a contrast between tourists and New Yorkers, as if to say that a local would never pass up such opportunism? (I once saw a $20 sticking out of an ATM — with no one around. I walked right past the machine. When, a minute later, the devil on my left shoulder had knocked the angel off my right shoulder, I went back to the ATM and found the cash gone. Yay! With a faceless stranger safely designated the “bad guy,” I was free continue my life as a self-righteous Midwesterner.)
Either way, I made short work of that $40 at the bar minutes later.
Knowing I’d want to jot down some ideas as I walked through the neighborhood to my bank today, I stopped in at Rite Aid to buy a cheap pen. I can’t remember the last time I bought a pen. Usually they’re just in a drawer or on my dresser. They just sort of accumulate, and you always have one somewhere.
Well, I was overwhelmed at Rite Aid. First, there are far too many choices! (Glad I wasn’t at Staples or Office Max.) And it’s next to impossible to buy a cheap pen — they’re all Space Age and far more complicated than the simple instrument I’m looking for. Or they come several to a pack. (Shoulda gone to Staples or Office Max.)
I grabbed one for $2.59 or something similarly stupid and ran to the check out counter.