Porkpie and Belt, or How to Not be Loud and Young

They were fat and loud and talking politics they barely understood. Basically? They were the aural, gum-cracking, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard variety, falling over their belts and making declarative eviscerations of Mitt Romney and the Tea Party. He wore a porkpie hat, straw and dented, and a faded, white t-shirt. She had on a thin belt that held a thankless, broad, heart-attack-waist. A heart attack in fifteen, maybe twenty years. We were all on the G train, Queens-bound.

Oh. Oh! They wouldn’t shut up, so I gave in and listened. No, I didn’t listen, I let their blowhardiness waft over me and fill rest of the car. I knew, darn, I KNEW, darn again, that they were destined to get off at my stop, Greenpoint Avenue, which they did. Seems they followed me (all right, they didn’t) for a block and only shut down their politi-speak in order to pull mobile devices and check the restaurant’s address.

It was all over quicker than I could get a headache. They were two twentysomethings, they work for nonprofits or sell subscriptions, and all it is? They’re desperate to be what they’re not, shouting over their upbringings, which took place in sturdy states like Wisconsin or Delaware. Underneath, past the stylin’ mismatches and declarative statements, they were meekly plying their wares, trailing heft that will never leave them, whether or not they lose weight.

I write them well, hmmm? Isn’t that the tellingest thing, considering I’m just one generation on, an Iowa upbringing, now thin and quieter, but oh so grim in the jaw. I quit eating everything, including raw words. I quit arguing just so I could hear my voice. I commenced to settle, to step aside, to stand clear of ambitious destruction. In other words, proving my point became a tiresome occupation. I match, I don’t dent, and I pluck my eyebrows now.

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