There are at least two cultures living in our society in parallel. I’m not talking about racial divides, gender, urban vs. rural, or even really “class”.
I’m talking about the world of most of us – normal, working, peaceful, sane people, and the world of the Sketchy. The Sketchy World is the one full of people who live on the very edge, where criminality is common, where no thought is given to the future (and by the future I mean 30 seconds from now), where education is low, where confrontation and animosity are often high. Substance abuse and addiction are the norm. The Sketchers are in survival mode 24-7.
These two worlds sometimes come into contact. In more urban environments they see each other more often. Who doesn’t love being in the city when some lunatic begins shouting out that Jesus is on his way or something like that? I love it. In the suburbs contact is less frequent, but does happen. But when it happens, it’s weird. Bus stations are a great nexus of the two universes.
Skateboarding can also bring you into close contact with the Sketchy, but generally everyone just wants to skate, so things are usually chill. Still, in skateboarding you sometimes have to be aware of the Sketchy. Keep your wits about you, and make sure you aren’t pulled in, at least not too far.
I’m sure this is why cops always seem weird to me when I meet them. They spend so much of their time dealing with humanoids who have no idea or ability to get along harmoniously in the world that they must start seeing that aspect in almost everyone.
But I digress…
The other day I was walking to lunch near my place of employment. As I waited for the lights to change so I could cross the street, I noticed a young couple across the street with a baby in a carriage (yeah…of course…they had to have a baby, right?). The woman was really impatient. She could hardly wait for the “walk” sign to light up, as she stood there shifting from one foot to the other, cigarette dangling from her mouth. Her male companion was standing slightly behind her, pushing the carriage. Both looked to be in their late 20s, but with a lot of miles on them.
When the light changed, she took off across the street, jumping way ahead of the man and the baby. As I passed her going the other way, I swear she was trying to invade my space. Seriously. I mean, it is a full size crosswalk, but this fucking hag is trying to take as much of it as possible.
Now, I credit my aikido training for improving my sense of what is going on around me. It hasn’t made me paranoid or anything , but after six years I have developed a bit more of a sense of people’s body language and “way”. I was actually kind of on my guard, just in case this woman was crazy.
Now, of course there was no collision or anything. But afterward as I thought about it, I realized that a lot of people live in that world all the time. — the world where tiny stuff can turn into an altercation, where the lizard brain is primary, and it’s often under the influence of one or more mind-altering substances.
As I passed the guy with the baby carriage, he seemed like he was just wishing that maybe she’d get hit by a car or something. He didn’t look too stoked about being there with her. Who knows what was going on with them. You just really never know what kind of stuff is happening in people’s lives, and with inhabitants of the Sketchy World you really have no idea.
Looking forward to my friend Mike’s comments here, as his line of work (which is perfectly legitimate) often puts him in contact with the Sketchy-verse.