Tuesday, June 10, 2008

White people's sport

I could hear his music as he came up the bend - he had a blasting boombox. I was on my way to re-chalk. I grabbed my chalk bag , dipped my fingers in and when I looked up he was there. I rubbed my hands together and looked at him intently. He was a bit different than I expected. A bit older. He was in his fifties or sixties. He stood about a meter from the beginning of my route. For a split second I looked around my surroundings. There were still bikers passing by every few seconds, a runner every minute or so, and one of those police golf-carts about a 100 meters downhill. I didn't feel unsafe at all. I kept looking at him.

"I am harmless!", he said.

"Eh ... I'm sorry?"

"I am harmless. I am a good guy. You're going to climb this right?"


"Go on. I won't be in your way." He pointed ahead and said something about the police. I imagine that they were watching us.

I tried to smile. "I know."

Actually, he was in my way. I could start but I could land where he was. I walked over to him and started anyway, making sure I didn't slip. He kept talking over the blasting boombox.

"Is this your first time here?"




"You've never been to the park? then you must be from out of town."

"No, I'm from here. I just haven't been here before." I meant the actual location, not even the park but from where I was hanging, I wasn't about to explain.

He looked at me for a while longer, changing the radio station erratically. Then he yelled more.

"This is white people's sport, you know? Black folk don't do this."

I cracked up and let go.


"This is white peoples' sport. I see them all over this thing all the time. "

"Aha. " I went back to my chalk bag.

"White people sport! White people sport. I gotta talk to the police."

Then suddenly, leaving aside a nicely made out trail, he made a dash through the bushes and started running to the police golf cart down below. For a while the boombox was quiet. and I went back to my route. Part way through my traverse the music came back. Eventually when I looked back he was slowly walking away from the police cart, tweaking his radio stations once again.

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