this friday i was sitting on a park bench in the middle of downtown Rutland Vermont, waiting for Trin to pick me up after work for our drive down to Massachusetts.
i was sitting there, staring at the large clock across the street and listening to "The Charm of the Highway Strip".
a muscular young man in a backturned red cap and black tanktop stepped in front of me.
"you work for the railroad?" he was smirking, pupils dilated.
i shook my head 'no', assuming he was referring to my hat.
he snickered, "because i need to buy some train tickets .. "
an awkward silence.
"are you a priest?"
another no. my black suit and white collar, i guessed.
"do you want to be? because we can go down to the river and baptize you."
i shot him a disturbed glare to match his smirk, wordlessly asking something along the lines of 'are you really this bored'?
turning to walk away, he started yelling "i don't believe in GOD! fuck god! HAhaHA!"
i put my earphones back in as he scampered off, drowning out his nattering.
a moment later i heard the scattering sound of a rock skipping off the concrete in front of me.
i pulled out the earphones and stared over at him.
another rock, this one flying past my back and hitting the park's flag pole to a loud, ironic, reverberating "gong". the american flag slumped, windless.
'this is too fucking much', i thought to myself.
i continued to look over at him incredulously. he missed with three or four more stones, then retreated over to his little brother and two cigarette smoking girls about his age.
he made one last, loud turn, arms raised "You want my number, fag!?" and laughed.
he travelled with his friends toward the nearby parking lot, then backtracked to the park and started kicking up more rocks from underneath the trees.
at this point i began to question whether or not i should leave. it was clear he couldn't throw, was probably intoxicated and was unlikely to hit me from his chosen distance. the hell if i was going to give him the satisfaction of scaring me off without hitting me first.
so i stayed.
he crept closer, missing with another four rocks through the trees and then scampered off to the parking lot yelling "Go back to New Jersey, You Faggot!"
So, Rutland Vermont .. you of the conspicuously progressive Op Ed on states' rights and gay marriage i'd read earlier in the day .. perhaps you could deal with the "Act of Disrespect" happening in the middle of your town square, onlookers either staring dumbly or going about their business while chumps yell "FAGGOT" at the top of their lungs for every passerby to hear.
.. because i'm frankly disgusted that something so juvenile and bigoted could happen in the middle of your downtown, and to the collective shrug of so many onlookers.