Re: 'That Doesn't Mean It Doesn't Sting Any Less'

1

I have accidentally scared people by being biggish and angry-looking, but not often. I can imagine that would be no fun at all.

I have a friend who is 6'7" and 300 pounds, and used to dress sort of long haired-disreputable. Oh, and he had a limp. I didn't realize how much effort he put into seeming non-threatening until I saw him when he was too high to care, and then he was a stomping, glowering menace.

And, of course, both of the foregoing refer to white people, so I'm sure it's not even on the same scale.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:58 AM
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I Don't Pay, back when he was around, used to bring up this sort of thing occasionally; that as a large looming kind of guy, he felt very pressured to be nonthreatening. Again, Whitey McWhiterson, so only a partial overlap with Questlove's position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:04 AM
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And this is me not commenting again. Goddamnit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:04 AM
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It is terrible being so imposing a figure. You cannot imagine.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:06 AM
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The only time I worry about appearing threatening is when I'm coincidently walking the same route as a girl.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:09 AM
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I have a friend who is very Islamic looking [because he's a very devout Muslim]. He has one of those big impressive looking chin-beards, and he's talked a few times about needing to constantly signal to people that he's not a threat.

I have no experience of trying to signal to people that I'm not a physical threat as I'm not a physically threatening type of specimen, but I've lots of experience of dialling back my accent and constantly signalling that I belong in polite middle-class company, for similar reasons.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:10 AM
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My useless and silly reaction to this is what it is to basically everything Questlove ever says or does: How does he manage to be basically the most appealing person of all time? Because he sure is.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:15 AM
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ALSO, that "apology" he quotes is amazing in its awfulness.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:15 AM
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(Or maybe I misread it -- it seems like the alleged apology is just being dismissive all over again, but maybe it was actually a real apology and he's just quoting the bit that illustrates that the friend was dismissive at first.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:17 AM
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5: Same here.

When the situation is alone at night on the same road/sidewalk, I can never decide whether the preferred way of being non threatening is to fall way back or just speed up and walk past. I think I alternate between both (not at the same time, though).


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:20 AM
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5, 10: Yeah, me too. My version of being non-threatening is to pull out my smartphone and be engrossed in it while continuing to walk at the exact same pace, leaving the choice of speed alteration to the other party.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:25 AM
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Being hit by a car as you cross the street is the least threatening thing of all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:28 AM
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Being hit by a car as you cross the street is the least threatening thing of all.

I hadn't thought of that. Problem solved!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:32 AM
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But then what if there are no cars?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:33 AM
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You could walk into a mailbox or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:34 AM
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When walking behind someone at night, every time they glance behind, freeze in random Bob Fosse/Thriller-video pose.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:36 AM
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15: That's the kind of thing that kind of comes naturally for me.

16: That sounds terrifying.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:41 AM
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Hmm, I'm almost precisely his size (annoyingly confirmed at a doctor's appointment on Monday) but, yeah, white and all that. I do not feel that I am perceived as threatening all that much, but I do think I tend to feel less threatened* than many people I know, in part due to size.

*Probably somewhat foolishly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:15 AM
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Make yourself appear harmless by playing the tuba as you walk. "No creepy stalker would play the tuba," she will think, and be reassured.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:20 AM
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The feedback I get from very big men is that rather than being intimidating they have to appear unnaturally pacific all the time because there's always some little twat who wants to show his mates how hard he is by taking them on. The big guys never start anything.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:21 AM
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I figure with three steps on them, I can outrun like 90% of the 300 pound guys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:29 AM
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I figure with three steps on them, I can outrun like 90% of the 300 pound guys.

While carrying a tuba?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:32 AM
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The only possible justification for owning a tuba involves becoming the dot on an 'i'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:41 AM
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Yeah, I really think this is about race rather than size or maybe even class. I grew up basically a lowlife, now keep tattoos covered, groom like the middle -class automaton that I have become, and only cuss with friends.

But even if I dressed and talked and swaggered like a bouncer, still not the same. Possibly if I had visible homemade tattoos combined with the bad grooming that's particular to poverty.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:45 AM
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5 & 10, cross street, walk fast to get ahead.

I've got a cousin who is a bouncer who cultivates both a genial face to look nonthreatening and a most excellent threatening look for rowdy drunks and bad neighborhoods. The switch is scary. But again, still not quite the same.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:54 AM
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5 & 10, cross street, walk fast to get ahead.

But 12 suggests that getting hit by a car while crossing the street is optimal, in which case walking fast afterwords might be difficult.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:58 AM
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Someone recently shared that when they're inadvertently trailing a woman, they fake a phone call where they:
1) sound upbeat and cheerful
2) like they're due to be somewhere in ten minutes
3) where they say outloud their destination, so that if the woman turns a corner and they have to go that same way, she's been alerted that it's just a coincidence.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:59 AM
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Sometimes getting off the bus is a bit awkward because of the whole threatening thing. I have a sign that says, "I've lived here ten years. I'm not getting off to follow you." I only use it after 10 p.m.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:01 AM
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No, I don't want to interact with you. If you get hit by a car, I'd have to stop, call 911 and stay for the police or ambulance. I'm a nice bystander. Ahead is way less creepy than behind, though. I like the phone thing, too.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:03 AM
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27: And thanks to Bluetooth headsets, now you don't even need a phone as a prop. You can just start talking to yourself.

Not so long ago that would have made you significantly more creepy instead of less.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:10 AM
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21: You're on. (I'm thinking about 30 to 50 steps would be the tipping point.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:13 AM
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Back about 15 years ago, I was in the front passenger seat on a long cab ride and I though the cab driver had a touch of schizophrenia before I figured out that he was talking to somebody else on a cell phone using a headset.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:13 AM
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It was a very good article, though I'm going to be a dick and focus on the two things that stuck out in a negative way:

I live in a "nice building." I work hard. ... Like Oscar winners and kids of royalty and sports guys and mafia goombahs live here.

Yes, you work hard. But working hard isn't the key trait that unites you with Oscar winners, kids of royalty, sports guys, and mafia goombahs. It's having lots of money. The imaginary dude working two full-time McDonald's jobs also works hard, but is spending $600/month in rent.

It also struck me that, in an article about the pain of being seen as not a person but a threat, an abstract category, the example he uses to illustrate this is being so judged by a beautiful woman ... whom, based purely on seeing her get into the elevator with him, he's imagining in a porn scene with him ("dayuuuuuuuuuuum she lives on my floor? *bow chicka wowowowowwoooowwww!!!").

Now I get that this wasn't about competing in the hurt-feelings Olympics, and was merely giving a personal story about what it's like being on the other side of a fear that in any particular instance is almost certainly unfounded. But it's interesting (and possibly makes the story deeper, as a result) how it simultaneously gestures towards mechanisms underlying that fear: this woman surely is confronted with knowledge, every goddamn day, that complete strangers are imagining having sex with her, independent of her desires or attraction or anything else.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:15 AM
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I think there's a limit to how much worrying men need to be doing about whether they're scaring women they're accidentally following -- elaborate avoidance routines and fake phone calls seem like overkill. Not that I don't get nervous when I'm in that position, but there's not all that much the guy, who's also entitled to be using the sidewalk, needs to do about it.

(Oh, it's inconsiderate to be matching pace with someone if you're inside their personal space -- I'd think someone who was maintaining distance, behind me, within twenty feet or so was either trying to scare me or was being cluelessly inconsiderate. But beyond that, I wouldn't sweat it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:15 AM
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34: Do we (white nonthreatening women) really get to have much of an opinion on that? We don't really know how nervous women seem when Moby gets off the bus.

(I'm hassling you for fun, but is this the genders-reversed equivalent of "I never hear men telling young women to smile. Are you sure you need to be so sensitive about it?")


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:22 AM
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I'm trying out linen pants today. I'm thinking that will make me cooler in the heat and less threatening because glen plaid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:27 AM
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Well, as a member of the class of presumptively terrified female pedestrians I think I'm in as good a position as anyone else to say that I don't think it's reasonable to expect elaborate theater routines from men to reassure us. I mean, I've been nervous about men on the street at night, and I don't think my nervousness was rude or wrong of me in any way. But expecting men to do much about it in the moment (other than minimal not-crowding or following closely) seems over the top.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:30 AM
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I'm not willing to avoiding thinking about having sex with women I see on the bus, if that's what people want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:32 AM
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(Oh, I think I misunderstood you. Yeah, sure, guys making themselves comfortable by being elaborately non-threatening should do what they like. I just don't think it's an obligation.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:32 AM
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elaborate theater routines from men to reassure us.

So if the guy walking behind you is belting out showtunes, does that make him less threatening?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:33 AM
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I'm not willing to avoiding thinking about having sex with women I see on the bus, if that's what people want.

You just have to fake it. If you were seeming to read gay porn on the bus, for example, that might be enough, even if you were secretly fantasizing about your female fellow passengers.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:34 AM
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Glen plaid pants in linen? That seems like a very wool sort of pattern somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:34 AM
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42: I'm on the bus, so I can't pull them down and check the label.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:35 AM
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40: So if the guy walking behind you is belting out showtunes, does that make him less threatening?

"Singin' in the Rain" maybe not so much.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:40 AM
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43: Come on, how outside of bus norms is that anyway?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:44 AM
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I was just kidding. I'm at the office and I checked. It's linen except apparently the label is in German.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:48 AM
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I'd be weakly predisposed to be nervous about kids of royalty and mafia goombahs, which makes the example cited in 33 odd.

I will take mild issue with LizardBreath and say that while scary-seeming guys have no duty to perform unthreat, it is good manners to do so; the complement is that gorgeous women may coquette, but it's poor manners in them.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:48 AM
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Related Jessica Valenti column.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:50 AM
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45/43: Passengers removing their pants are fine so long as they've moved as far to the rear of the bus as possible.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:51 AM
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(Ah, the princelings and goombahs have extra security guards, who are supposed to make other residents feel safer. Would they actually intervene in trouble, or would they suspect a diversion and close up around their client? ... I read too many space-opera thrillers.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:05 AM
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As far as whether women should/do feel threatened when walking around strange men:

1. That seems to depend so much on the location (New York being notorious for sexual harassment of women; small towns probably being different from walking suburbs and both from your "edge city" type of place; different neighborhoods differing; each small town or edge city having its own history and character) that it is tricky to describe what women as an undifferentiated group should/do feel.

2. Different women get treated differently. Even back in my young day, when I was thinner and much more feminine-looking and wore dresses and clumsy nineties chunky heels, I rarely got sexually harassed. Now that I am older, scowlier and much, much more butch, it never happens. I suspect that LB and I both project something (or fail to project something) that causes us to be hassled less. But what? I mean, it's easy to say that because I have never particularly been thin and beautiful, I am not harassed (and that's undoubtedly a factor) but I also know older, plainer or fatter women who get hassled all the time!

3. Sometimes I do want to push back against this "Schroedinger's rapist" discourse, because I think it elides the fact that the vast majority of assaults on women are committed by acquaintances, friends, dates and partners, not scary dudes walking behind you on the street. It's true that you only need one attacker, but I think that the pervasive discourse of lurking physical danger from strange men is conducive to racism and class bias.

4. But at the same time, while women generally aren't in physical danger from strange men, we're certainly in danger of being hassled and just in general being treated unpleasantly by strange men, and that's pervasive enough that it has even happened to me. I'm skeptical of the narrative of "men are physically dangerous, better ask them all to make fake phone calls" but the narrative of "men are often assholes and can really make you miserable via harassment, so walking around strange ones is stressful" - and there, the fake phone call or other behavior isn't about signalling that you're physically harmless, it's about signalling that you're familiar with a discourse about sexual harassment and assault and want to put the woman at ease.

In terms of the essay: I was not in love with the whole "I am wealthy, so it shows how bad racism is because I am not trusted any more than a poor black man would be" subtheme. And I was not absolutely comfortable with the "and then there was this hot chick in the elevator" thing - like, would he have even bothered writing this essay if it had been some paranoid wealthy woman who he didn't want to have sex with? I did like the sounds-very-informal-but-is-actually-quite-carefully-written style.

And of course, you've got to hate the white supremacy.

When I was student-teaching, I worked with a kid who was tall, strong and very dark-skinned (I may have mentioned him here before) and who had as a result been just constantly racially profiled by pretty much everyone from teachers to fellow students to (I assume) police and administrators. His older brother was in jail and I don't think Kenny saw a very good future for himself either. He was a nice kid but under tremendous, tremendous pressure every day. Lot of self-medicating going on there, which of course everyone blamed him for. Poor kid probably could have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in about two seconds flat if he'd been seen by a competent psychiatrist. Honestly, I hope he's all right - I saw him around town once or twice in the couple of years right after I finished my teaching placement, but I haven't run into him for a long time.

In terms of trying not to scare people: I feel like I've always lived in dread of disgusting people, and this essay really brought that feeling up for me. As a person who has been varying degrees of not-very-thin and visibly queer for most of their teens and adult life, now that I think about it I've always been extremely anxious not about scaring people but about triggering their disgust and a sort of fear-born-of-disgust - I've always done a huge amount to make sure that I never, ever show any skin, am never dirty or uncombed, never wear tight clothes, etc, and it's always about how I assume that many people can barely control their physical disgust at the mere presence of a gender non-conforming person, especially one who is also not particularly thin. I am very uncomfortable around young straight women, because I assume that they are internally convulsed with [homophobic, ignorant] disgust and fear. This fact is not something that I've really put into so many words for myself until now.

Of course, I'm also afraid that people will hassle or hurt me just because I look funny and they can - I'm not afraid of being sexually harassed, I'm afraid of being pushed around by random dudebros. I'm particularly afraid of being hurt by people who are too stupid to realize that they're actually endangering me, like those clowns who tried to push me into traffic when I was biking a couple of years ago. That's a huge fear for me. I just realized today that one reason I hate summer so much is there's always so many people outside, so I always feel in danger.

Some of this may be - in fact I know it is - excessive, but man it's hard to stop feeling this way.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:11 AM
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Make yourself appear harmless by playing the tuba as you walk

There is a guy in my neighborhood who walks around playing a sousaphone. He is quite nonthreatening. I've never seen him with it after dark, though.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:23 AM
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Tens of thousands of years of evolution have left the sousaphonist capable of listening to his own music, but at the cost of poor night vision.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:25 AM
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24: Yeah, I really think this is about race rather than size or maybe even class.

Yeah. Maybe Questlove (of whom I'd never heard! at least by name) didn't make that clear enough in the piece, which is terrific.

Probably also about presentation: I kind of have to speculate that the woman in the fancy elevator wouldn't have responded as she did to a black man like Spike Lee, neatly coiffed and wearing nerdy glasses, or any other black man so accoutered. Uh, a black man who looks kind of white.

I'm pretty sure most black people know that, and it takes a hell of a lot of courage not to bow to the pressure.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 11:04 AM
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Thanks for writing that, Frowner.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 11:12 AM
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55: I was just going to say that!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 11:13 AM
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This makes me sad for my 6'6" baby brother.

One night, I was out with friends when we were approached by this big guy, early twenties, so he was just a baby, and he asked us for directions. We told him and he'd come quite a distance the wrong way. He sighed, and started walking back in the cold and the rain. Shortly later, I drove by him and nearly kept going. But he'd been a polite kid and tall big people feel the cold and rain too and so I gave him a ride to his destination. But if he hadn't spoken to us, I would never have picked him up.

It makes me worry for my baby brother. He's going to be bigger than almost everyone. He'll barely ever get the benefit of the doubt and kindness from strangers. But he might be scared and in need somewhere, just like short people are. Anyway, I worry.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 1:40 PM
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Is your brother white?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 1:44 PM
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Yep. He could be mistaken for Latino, but he probably isn't scaring people because of his race. Questlove's situation is way worse, but simply not getting help on the basis of his size is enough to make me fret for my brother.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 1:50 PM
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He'll barely ever get the benefit of the doubt and kindness from strangers.

I have to say that this hasn't been what I've seen for my housemate, who's 6'7" -- he's Dutch*. It is true that he towers over everyone else, and people shrink back a bit (they hide it, but it's there) when they first meet him. It's also true that he's adopted a somewhat hunched-shoulders posture, which I speak to him about from time to time; it's fucking up his back, and he's doing exercises to try to compensate for what's clearly been a long-standing habit. If you think about it, yeah, if you're that tall, you're looking down at everyone, they're looking up at you, you try to compensate.

That said, I don't like to see Questlove's piece equated with the position of big and tall white men. Questlove is talking about blackness. White people should not try to own that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:08 PM
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Oh sorry, the * was supposed to go to a story about my having attended a wedding among my housemate's family: a bunch of the Dutch cousins came, and they were all really fucking tall. For the first time, I couldn't just scan the room for the head towering above the rest. Instead I was the pygmy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:10 PM
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I want also to add that I know a couple of other people who are in the 6'5" range, who do not hunch their shoulders. I seem to recall that Labs is one of those.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:14 PM
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I try to cultivate an absent-minded, benign affect and to refrain from looming, but whiteness helps.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:15 PM
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My Dad is 6'7''. I don't think strangers are generally inclined to refuse him kindnesses on account of his height, though he would certainly grouchily refuse to accept anything from a stranger, regardless.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:27 PM
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No shoulder-hunching, at any rate!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:32 PM
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re: 61

IIRC, Dutch people are the tallest in the world, on average.

http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/2011/10/30/tall-dutch-people/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:35 PM
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Speaking of Dutch people, does anyone know what's up with Martin Wisse's website?
It's been down for the last few days.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:39 PM
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Semi-related to all this, and especially 57, does anyone hitch-hike anymore? Or pick up hitch-hikers? I grew up being told basically that although this was common in the 40s-60s, starting in the 1970s the world changed and now only thieves and robbers hitch-hike and only criminally insane murderers pitch up hitch-hikers, so I've never done either. But I realize that's probably just paranoia, so I've been thinking of hitch-hiking to Denver. But I'm worried no one would give me a ride.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:44 PM
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I was walking back home a couple nights ago and when I turned the corner I saw that there was a woman walking down the sidewalk ahead of me. I knew I had to cross the street eventually, so I crossed before I caught up. I didn't think about it until I stopped to get something from my car before going into my building and I looked up and saw that the woman had crossed to my side of the street. She crossed again back to the other side while I was still taking stuff out of the car. I don't know if she crossed yet again later because I didn't stalk her. My guess is she crossed to follow me because it's safer to be on a non-empty sidewalk. Or maybe she was stalking me.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:45 PM
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Sadly, he won't ever actually do it, but I would be happy to read a journal of Urple's trip to Denver via hitchhiking.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 2:55 PM
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I sometimes see hitch-hikers on the commute to Oxford, when I drive. Not every day, but a couple of times a month. I presume they get lifts.

In the late 80s/early 90s, friends used to regularly hitch from central Scotland up to the Highlands for a bit of camping and to try to pick up some occasional casual work. I also had a female friend [mate's girlfriend] who used to hitch with a friend to the south of France every summer, to crew yachts and do casual work on the Med. They went in for 1970s-porn style hitching -- i.e. two blonde girls in very short shorts -- as it got them a lot of lifts, and as there was two of them and they weren't daft, they didn't have many stories of crazies [although they had a few].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:16 PM
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I hitched around the South Island in NZ with a friend in December/January 93-94. I wouldn't have done it in the US, and wouldn't have done it alone anyplace, but I somehow got the impression that NZ was comparatively very, very safe. Maybe five rides total, nothing even a tiny bit scary happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:32 PM
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I hitchhiked up through the late '70s. I do think it was getting rarer in the US (I don't recall seeing many others after that), but I also had reached the age/monetary position where I would have stopped anyway.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:37 PM
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71.1: I also see hitch-hikers fairly frequently, and I would guess they get lifts at least sometimes.* That's really what got me thinking about the whole thing. I have to assume at least most of them aren't regularly kidnapped, robbed, raped or murdered.

* But it seems very possible that it's really not all that often.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:38 PM
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Is the hitchhiking paranoia so widespread that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and only lunatics do it or pick them up? I know if I want to walk home alone at night, I don't tell anyone or else it will become a big conspicuous fucking deal and I'll feel like an attention whore pushing for it. I am an attention whore but not that ilk.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:42 PM
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The only hitchhikers I see are young homeless-looking men.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:45 PM
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I once read a long article about truckers who were also serial killers. Or maybe just one who really murdered a lot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:46 PM
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I would pick up a woman, but not a man.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:46 PM
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79

78 Go on.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:47 PM
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If he was holding a sign that said "I'm urple", I'd make an exception.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:47 PM
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Semi-related to all this, and especially 57, does anyone hitch-hike anymore?

When I was in Heidelberg, a French couch-surfer stayed with us who apparently hitch-hiked everywhere; it was just part of his identity, apparently. He was doing a PhD in either physical anthropology or archaeology in Strasburg, and spent summers in central Turkey at an archaeological dig--and he hitched there and back every time.

I was very impressed by this.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:48 PM
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79: then I'd say "need a lift? Where are you headed?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:49 PM
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young homeless-looking men.

Often are going to be these types, sometimes with a pitbull or two as a bonus.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:49 PM
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||

I am being thought aloud at interminably over the phone.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:49 PM
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84 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:53 PM
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Oh hey man, could you pull over real quick? NSFW, not sexual, but kind of impressive in a way.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:56 PM
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Yuck.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 3:59 PM
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Don't click. Just trust me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:00 PM
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Still at work so I won't but when I get home...


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:05 PM
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Done. A 25-minute call with one person, about 2/3 of which did not require my participation.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:05 PM
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You never know what dangers lurk with a hitchhiker.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:06 PM
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77: Journalists and FBI agents seem to have a lot of trucker-centered theories about America's serial killer community.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:08 PM
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Has any thread not turned into poooooooping this week?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:13 PM
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86 is literally a pooping thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:16 PM
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I blame the doodoo mamas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:16 PM
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Yuck.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:17 PM
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I warned you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:18 PM
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I hitchhiked in Europe in the 90's (pre-employment), covering thousands of kilometers. Usually I was alone, a few times with my French friend. Never had anything scary happen. The closest brush was probably the couple from Brussels (driving a high-end Mercedes) who insisted that I accompany them back to their house for lunch, where it became apparent that their ulterior motive was to...introduce me to their rather homely daughter.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:26 PM
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It's supposed to be three daughters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:28 PM
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My more or less infallible technique for hitchhiking in Yurp was (1) wear a clean, solid white Oxford shirt; (2) make printed (as in laser printer) signs with my destination (or often an interim destination, to maximize my chances); and (3) hold a little American flag (I only did this sometimes; N.B. this was a little more helpful during the Clinton administration).

Once I took the streetcar to the motorway entrance in Amsterdam intending to hitchhike to Germany, and was crestfallen at the sight of about 40 other hitchhikers competing for rides. I had a car stop for me literally within a minute, much to the chagrin of all the green-hairs with their piercings and hand-inked cardboard box lid signs. The helpful couple proceeded to lament all the young people doing drugs in Amsterdam. I nodded sympathetically and felt a little guilty as they guilelessly drove me across an international border.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:38 PM
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84 is great. And

or often an interim destination, to maximize my chances

is clever in a knecht-like way that I suspect most hitchhikers are not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:53 PM
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I have an old theory that the burglar dressed all in white is much scarier than the burglar dressed all in black, because he seems like a bonkers maniac. Knecht might have just been the counter-example.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 4:54 PM
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102: or you live in an igloo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:00 PM
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Intermediate destination.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:00 PM
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103: The walls of my house are all off-white, because fuck cleaning rollers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:01 PM
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83, 86: Are gswift and I the only commenters who scan LATFO regularly for people we recognize?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:14 PM
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86: This reminds me of a picture I took of a White-faced Ibis at Farmington Bay.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:20 PM
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Is the hitchhiking paranoia so widespread that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and only lunatics do it or pick them up?

Yes, this is precisely my question. Which I don't think anyone (US-based) has answered.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:29 PM
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68: I did pick up a hitchhiker in the middle of the last decade, on the outskirts of a dance 'n' music festival I betimes attended in a rural district. The weather was threatening, traffic had died down, and it was probably necessary-but-not-sufficient that the hitchhiker was a woman. She only had a mile or five to go; presumably I found that out before agreeing, but I don't remember that.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:30 PM
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Journalists and FBI agents seem to have a lot of trucker-centered theories about America's serial killer community

The golden age of the trucker/serial killer must have passed since the advent of the era.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:31 PM
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^OmniTracs


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:32 PM
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Nobody hitchhikes in Pennsylvania, by which I mean that I have never seen anyone hitchhike in Pennsylvania. Maybe it still exists in California, but I put it in the category of mythical concepts from pop culture, like doghouses, and having a "family meeting".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:33 PM
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107: The motion and the swirls really are what make that great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:36 PM
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113: Yeah, it was quite a surprise when I downloaded my pictures. It happened so quickly, I didn't realize what I was getting.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:42 PM
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I was going to say I've never hitchhiked, but technically this may not be true; once, when I was little, my mother flagged down a passing car and persuaded the driver to take us about two miles from the neighborhood where we lived to the bus station. We were planning to walk, but totally misjudged the distance, and we were needed to get on the bus to catch a plane. This was around 1990, in a small city in the Midwest.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:46 PM
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were


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:48 PM
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I have a friend who hitchhiked, with a friend, in he early '90s, back and forth across the country with truckers, filming the experience for a documentary called "Truck"; the rapist, murderer, serial killer count held steady at zero, as far as I know, but she did have to give one not necessarily freely given backrub.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 5:52 PM
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Do they still make the bumper stickers that say "Gas, grass or ass - Nobody rides for free" that one used to see in the 70's? I recall trying to puzzle out the meaning of that one as a young lad.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:16 PM
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I remember a super intense anti-hitchiking campaign on kids' TV shows, possibly including He-Man. I've very very rarely seen hitchikers around, mostly IIRC white kids who looked vaguely like they were doing it on a dare.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:20 PM
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I remember seeing hitchhikers in Missouri when I was a kid and my mom explaining to me that you should never pick one up.

In 1997 I had a Swedish roommate in Germany with whom I hitchhiked various distances, from across town (Göttingen) to cities an hour or so away on the Autobahn. My roommate seemed to think this was totally normal, but I suspect it was only normal for her: she was perhaps the most gifted communicator I have ever met. She did all the flagging down of cars and negotiating of where we were going, despite speaking hardly any German. We'd be on our way across town on foot, or on our way to the train station to travel somewhere, and suddenly there would be this car there and she'd be talking to the driver and then we'd be getting in. It always just seemed to happen out of nowhere, and incredibly fast.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:21 PM
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In comparison, I feel super uncomfortable when friends hitch around the South Islands, and would never do it. Still, plenty people do it (especially SH1). When have picked up hitchers, they have generally skewed foreign & smelly, tbh.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:23 PM
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119: I suspect we're close to the same age, and I definitely remember, when I was around 11 or 12, that the "Only crazed serial killers pick up hichhikers, only suicidally reckless people hichhike" message was pushed pretty intensely.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:32 PM
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One thing I learned from riding with long-haul truck drivers in Europe is that their whole subculture (and mind you this was 20 years ago, before it was overwhelmed by East Europeans) was utterly fascinated by American trucking culture, or at least an idealized fantasy thereof. "No, you numbskulls!" I wanted to tell them. "Those guys are forced into independent owner-operator status, they earn a pittance, and they are at risk of losing their truck and their livelihood if they ever can't drive for a few weeks. Treasure your comprehensive welfare state!".

But no, as far as they were concerned it was all bitchin' Peterbilt tractors, wide open spaces, and cheap Marlboros.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:32 PM
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I hitchhiked a fair amount in the midwestern US in HS and the first year of college. I carried a straight razor, wouldn't get into a car with more than one occupant. Both times that the driver started masturbating, he didn't stop when I said that I would like to leave. I was glad to have something for backup, no need for violence.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:34 PM
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I totally forgot, but I once picked up a guy and his young son who were stopped somewhere on the interstate in the flat, corn-related part of Indiana or Illinois. It was a Hispanic family (at least four kids) with D.C. plates. I was by myself and I didn't want to leave them with no help. I think I've told this before.

Anyway, the dad wanted him and his young son to ride in the back of my truck (a small pick-up with a topper) to the next town. I was glad they wanted to ride in the back, for fear they would shoot me. I think they wanted to ride in the back for fear I would shoot them, but then why would he have insisted the son go with him? I suppose the son was big enough to have a chance at running if I was a serial killer and the father was willing to die to give the son a few seconds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:40 PM
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Maybe he was afraid I'd start masturbating?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:41 PM
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I hitchhiked all around Israel/Palestine just before the start of Gulf War I. But hitchhiking was the norm there at that time -- it isn't any more, I'm told -- especially for people who, like me, looked like they were serving in the army and needed a ride home. I never had any weird or scary experiences, though people often laughed at my crappy Hebrew and crappier Arabic.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 6:59 PM
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It's funny to think that I used to be young and limp-free.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:00 PM
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126: I know I am.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:03 PM
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Alternately, 128 to 16.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:04 PM
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Fine, yes, 16. Not 126. Stupid fucking keyboard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:04 PM
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Both times that the driver started masturbating, he didn't stop when I said that I would like to leave.

Didn't stop the car or didn't stop masturbating?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:10 PM
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I'd think you'd want both.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:13 PM
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I wouldn't speculate on what urple wants.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:15 PM
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By the standards here, this is an obituary.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:30 PM
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It's pretty clear that he wants to learn about how best to lull either a hitchhiker or someone who picks up hitchhikers into a false sense of complacency before he strikes.

Let look at the evidence:

1: His bathroom doesn't function, so he must have an alternative. Obviously bedwetting.
2: He's recently talked about killing cats.
3: Whatever he was doing with that egg must have stemmed from a desire to start a fire.

That's 3 for 3.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:32 PM
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When have picked up hitchers, they have generally skewed foreign & smelly, tbh.

Look, I was in the Peace Corps. Your standards of personal hygiene tend to slip a little.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:34 PM
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I'm surprised that no one has yet broached the question of why urple wants to hitchhike to Denver specifically.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:44 PM
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Also, Navajos hitchhike all the time. I'm pretty sure I've discussed this here before, actually.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:45 PM
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I actually hitchhiked myself last summer when my car broke down on the Parks Highway. The first vehicle I saw stopped for me and gave me a ride into the nearest town to fill up a gas can. (Which didn't actually solve the car problem, but that's another story.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:50 PM
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I feel like 140 doesn't count as hitchhiking.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:53 PM
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That's not hitchhiking; that's just getting a friendly lift in an emergency. Hitchhiking is setting off with an intent to get from point A to point B by means of hitching rides with random strangers (combined presumably with some amount of walking).

Someone whose car just broke down is obviously less likely to be insane than someone who is just out hitching rides. And so people would be less insane to pick you up. So it's safer for both sides.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:58 PM
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136 to 142.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:02 PM
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I think I'd be willing to pick up any hitchhiker who was willing to ride in my trunk.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:03 PM
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141, 142: Fair enough. I stand by 139, though, as real hitchhiking.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:06 PM
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Can a person even legally hitchhike on the interstate? No pedestrians are allowed, I think. That seems like it would make the whole thing logistically difficult. Most people going long distances are on the interstates. If you're not there, how do you find them?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:07 PM
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Most people going long distances are on the interstates. If you're not there, how do you find them?

Hang around truck stops and rest areas.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:09 PM
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That makes sense, but sounds more boring.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:11 PM
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144: Trunks seem to have internal releases these days.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:12 PM
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Well, right. Why do you want to do this again?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:12 PM
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Truck stops have bacon and eggs. There's no bacon and eggs on the side of the interstate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:12 PM
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146: Voila.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:12 PM
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150 to 148.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:12 PM
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149: You could probably disable them with a wire-cutter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:13 PM
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Actually I'm not sure that standing on the side of the road is less boring than hanging around a truck stop.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:15 PM
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I'm not sure I know what 149 means, but I don't care if someone opens my trunk and jumps out. I'm not trying to kidnap them. I just don't want them to be able to kidnap me (easily), which them being in my car seems like it risks. But even a scary-looking person couldn't harm me from inside my trunk.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:15 PM
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Trunks seem to have internal releases these days.

Best to check before you hide from the cops in there on a summer day.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:19 PM
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Why do you want to do this again?

From the link in 152:

The most remarkable thing about hitching in the States is that you get picked up by REALLY interesting people. Not all the time. But our beloved weirdos are more common in the US than anywhere else I've hitched. Regardless of what you think about the States, it's easily one of the most interesting places to hitchhike, especially if you LIKE adventure.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:20 PM
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Go for it, then. You can totally do this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 8:34 PM
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You can hitch on the interstate here.

I picked up a couple of Rainbows last week in Idaho. Pretty funny experience.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:22 PM
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I hitched a lot in the late 70s -- MT to the Bay Area or Seattle and back. Down the Alaska Highway (ANC to Great Falls) in 1980. It was fun, and I kept moving pretty well the whole five days of it.

I've biked a couple of one car float shuttles this summer -- the one this last weekend I should have hitched instead. Next time.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:44 PM
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The key is looking non-threatening, to come back to that. Easy for me then and now.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 9:48 PM
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In 1997 I hitchhiked to my first job interview after college, from Western Mass to Hartford, CT. I got a ride pretty quickly but she was only going three stops down 91. The second ride was a Korean nuclear engineer who didn't know what the rules were, and neither did I, so he dropped me off at my exact destination.


Posted by: K-sky | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 11:42 PM
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I hitched everywhere in the 70s. One time I was at a loose end and a girl I knew asked me if I'd hitch to London with her, for security. So we hitched to London (easy in those days), and I left her where she needed to be and hitched home again. Passed the time.

When Thatcher got in, the business and commercial drivers who were the main source of lifts stopped picking up DFHs, so I stopped. (That's a Baptist preacher fallacy - attitudes changed so people both stopped picking up DFHs and started voting for Thatcher.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 1:08 AM
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My favourite hitching story was a couple of friends of mine who were bumming around Italy one summer. A guy picked them up, but he had no English and they had very little Italian. But they found they had a common language. So they drove for about three hours conversing in Latin.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 1:10 AM
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I just remembered, when we were kids we used to travel down to my grandparents [in London] either on the train or by plane* but we couldn't always all afford to travel down commercially as a family. So my Dad used to hitch down, sleeping where he could find shelter. I think the longest it took him once was three days. He had a couple of stories of crazies picking him up. Not people threatening him or anything, but people who'd been drinking, or who were in an emotional state.

* my grandfather was an aircraft mechanic, so could sometimes get us cheap standby seats


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:10 AM
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I don't think our sewer even appears as a separate item on the bill. Supply is either flat rate or metered, depending where you live, and the price per unit is calculated to cover the rest of the service.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 3:57 AM
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Wrong thread?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:42 AM
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Apparently.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:53 AM
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But they found they had a common language. So they drove for about three hours conversing in Latin.

That happened to a guy I know. He met some priests on a train in Switzerland, and they were quite impatient with the quality of his German, but were delighted and surprised to find him fluent in conversational Latin.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 6:19 AM
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One thing I learned from riding with long-haul truck drivers in Europe is that their whole subculture (and mind you this was 20 years ago, before it was overwhelmed by East Europeans) was utterly fascinated by American trucking culture, or at least an idealized fantasy thereof.

This may help explain the huge popularity in continental Europe of this game series, in which you have to haul cargo and build a trucking empire while scrupulously following traffic laws and being subject to the EU's mandatory speed-limiter. Judging by the forums (always a risky proposition), the player base contains a surprisingly large number of actual truckers.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 7:43 AM
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Aargh. Sorry for the html fail.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 7:43 AM
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I don't play video games, but if there was a "Convoy" or "Smokey and the Bandit"* themed video game I might start.

*SATB part II was on the other night. I'd forgotten the elephant.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:18 AM
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173: Comedies with Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise were their own little sub-genre for while.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:21 AM
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Comedies with Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise were their own little sub-genre for while.

In a substantially overlapping set, comedies featuring long-haul truckers were their own little genre at approximately the same time. One presumes that a different title would be chosen for B.J. and the Bear if it were released today.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:26 AM
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All I can remember is "Right turn Clyde."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:34 AM
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All I can remember is "Right turn Clyde."

That of course a different comedy about a long-haul trucker with a simian pet - the source material for the shameless appropriation that was B.J. and the Bear.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:39 AM
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^was


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:39 AM
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Was it? It's all sort of a blur. There was a movie about a guy and a really blond woman on a bus that was shot at my hundreds of cops, but I don't think that had a trucker or an orangutan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:40 AM
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'my' s/b 'by'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:40 AM
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179: Sugarland Express?

Maybe that's too early.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:42 AM
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179: Here you go.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:43 AM
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One presumes that a different title would be chosen for B.J. and the Bear if it were released today.

One also idly wonders about Mike Seaver's bff named Boner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:44 AM
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181: It does exist. The Gauntlet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:47 AM
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Every Which Way But Loose is, for real, not that bad of a movie, much better than the Smokey and the Bandit films. Eastwood should do an updated, realistic, Unforgiven-style revamp of the orangutan+trucker genre, before he dies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:54 AM
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"BJ and the Despair"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:55 AM
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Every Which Way Leads to the Grave


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:55 AM
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185: The orangutan+trucker genre is indeed ripe for deconstruction.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 8:56 AM
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Could only be an improvement over the constant flow of comic book-based movies circling the drain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 9:03 AM
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How about orangutan+trucker meets Planet of the Apes? Smokey and Dr. Zaius, anyone?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 9:08 AM
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My friend Sarah wrote about trying to imagine what was happening for the woman in the elevator. It's very sympathetic to Questlove without letting him off the hook.

In the Elevator with Questlove

also, what happened to spelling it "?uestlove"?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 12:53 PM
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191: I don't know what all the fuss is about. If there's only one other person in the elevator, and they are not visibly shaking in terror, it makes me feel like less of a man.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:20 PM
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193

Oh, that's good.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:21 PM
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194

Generally if I am riding in the elevator with someone else, and they look at me, I wave my arms and shout to make myself appear larger and harder to kill.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:24 PM
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195

I piss in the corners to establish my territory.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:25 PM
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196

I hate to say it, but the response of being so freaked out by finding a tall black man in your elevator strikes me as extremely fragile. I mean, it's a nice building, with card access, he's polite and playing with his phone, he was in the elevator first, and he pushed his floor before asking for hers? This is pretty much textbook normal polite human interaction. This scenario could be creepy in lots of ways, but if those details are correct, I think they're narrowing the possibility that the woman has a valid reason to be frightened.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:32 PM
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197

I just assumed the woman didn't want ?uestlove to know the apartment she was headed to for a torrid, illicit affair.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:39 PM
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198

197 is good, but `rich man' is threatening in itself, as the latest linked article points out. Also, if a person is thinking "boom chicka wow wow", the chances that they seem completely disinterested drop.

I don't think one should phrase it as assuming that the woman was afraid. All we know, as I read it, is that she was cautious.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 2:45 PM
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199

I was responding to She might just have been afraid, of men. Of rape. I mean, he notices she's hot, but he's more obsessed with winning this particular level than anything else to the point where he thinks he's rude. If you believe that his description is accurate (plus the order of events I summarized), I think it's hard to sympathize with the woman.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 3:04 PM
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200

Questlove ought to spend less time reading innocent women's minds and more time refining the dumplings at HyBird. The watermelon-jalapeno slush is really good, though.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 4:20 PM
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201

The linked piece in 191 is smart (generous and humble, too). Thanks, k-sky.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:10 PM
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202

I'm with 196. If she's that fearful for non-racial reasons, she sounds like she needs therapy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:39 PM
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196: the response of being so freaked out by finding a tall black man in your elevator strikes me as extremely fragile.

I tend to think so as well, but (a) perhaps New York is different; (b) if the woman really is gorgeous, she likely will have cautions in place as a matter of course (never tell an unknown man where you live). I don't have experience of being drop-dead gorgeous, but those who are do talk about being perpetually harassed/pursued.

Baltimore is well over 50% black: in a lot of areas, there just is no cross-racial suspicion to speak of. You have the same mundane chit-chat about the weather, or the state of the housing market, or whatever, with black and white people equally. Maybe New York is different?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:43 PM
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204

Didn't you once say that everybody needs (or at least could benefit from) therapy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:45 PM
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205

204 to 202.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:46 PM
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206

204: hmmm. If I said that, I no longer agree with it. I am generally pro-therapy, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:54 PM
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207

I may be remembering wrongly. Anyway, I'm pro-anti-awareness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 5:57 PM
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208

I'm now really curious! Does the woman *never* tell a male (in the elevator) which floor? Maybe she's a noob to the building, doesn't know that people generally punch in floor numbers for one another, as Questlove describes.

Oh! It would have been funny somehow (to me in my current mood) if Questlove had said, "I haven't seen you in the building before, but people usually put each other's floor numbers in here, since it's a pain for everyone to have to swipe their card individually. Well, you'll see, once you've lived here a bit longer."

Also! If it is a true story, it would be fascinating to see a reply essay from the woman: there's enough identifying information in Q's essay for her to be able to realize that it was her.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 6:24 PM
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208: She gets into the elevator, then if there are any men in the elevator she waits until they have left. Then and only then does she select her floor.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-18-13 7:07 PM
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210

Does anyone know how long a person has to be missing before their family is able to collect life insurance proceeds?

I'm guessing it's whenever you're legally declared dead, but frankly I don't have a clue whether that normally happens after a few days or after a few years. (I sort of think the latter, but that seems like it shoudl be the wrong answer in the life insurance context.)

This is probably something that varies by state or by policy or something, but someone may have a ballpark idea.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:22 PM
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211

You know who could answer that type of question? A lawyer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:30 PM
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