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2005 04 02
Transit Stories - Bad People
imageI’m on the streetcar, settling back for a long Sunday afternoon long ride out Queen Street east, wondering whether or not I have enough energy to attend to a paperback copy of Gide’s If It Die nestled in my overcoat pocket, when a young man and his toddler daughter get on and take the seat directly opposite mine.

The young man, who seems very young indeed to be the father of a little girl of perhaps two, notices right away something I had not noticed: that there is a small but graphically forceful graffiti tag sprayed in white on the metal back of their seat and, now that I am looking for it, on the backs of all the seats on his side of the streetcar. I can’t make it out. It’s one of those characteristically gnarled, centripetally arranged glyphs that, as far as I can tell, is more shape than script.

The little girl sees it right away and asks her father something—probably what it says or what it means. He glances at it with elaborate distaste and tells her that “bad people” did it.

The kid of course reaches out with her hand to touch the graffito and inevitably gets some of the white paint, or whatever it’s made of, on her dainty finger.

“There!” the young man cries in alarm and anger, “You see? Now you’re just as bad as they are!!”
[email this story] Posted by Gary Michael Dault on 04/02 at 09:08 AM

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