Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To pssssssssssst or not to pssssssssssssst

This morning after sadhana when I went for a walk, I was still wearing my headwrap. Along the way one of two women walking across the road called out to me: "Good morning!"

I called back: "Good morning!"

A few steps on, a guard talking on his cellular stopped and said: "Good morning."

I replied: "Good morning."

A bit further along, a rastaman and a woman were walking together. As I neared, they parted. I said good morning to the woman and then looked at the man. He looked directly into my eyes and gave a nod which, because of the respectful way in which he then said: "Rastafaaaaari" seemed like a bow. I nodded back.

On the way back home, walking and glancing at the papers, I heard a loud "Pssssssst!" coming from a nearby building. I ignored it and kept walking. Again, I heard: "Pssssssssssssst! Pssssssst!" It felt persistent. I walked a bit further, stopped, turned around and went back to the Pssssst point.

Two men were sitting in an office. One was looking at me through the window. The other was smoking a cigarette, peeping now and then and generally looking evasive. I stood at the fence and beckoned with my hand for either (or both) to come out. After about a minute, the one who was looking through the window came out. I estimate he was in his early 30's.

"Hello. Was it you who just said psssssssssst when I passed?" I asked when he got to the fence.

"No, no, it wasn' me. It was he."

"Well, please let him know that he would get a response when he says a genuine good morning."

"I ent mean nutting by it, yuh know. Is just psssssssst."

I told him that women don't like to hear pssssst. He responded that some do and some don't.

"I don't think any woman likes it," I said. Not even those who look like they do."

He looked sheepish and surprised. "Well okay den. Ah could tell by de way you was walking by ..." He paused, looked at my headwrap: "You is a rasta? I could tell you prefer good morning. An' you know what - I respec de way you come back here to tell me all what you tellin' me. I could see you follow de Order, den. De way how you come back. Respec, respec."

I told him that I respect him too, for the fact that he listened to me and that we could have had our conversation and come to this understanding.

We shook hands, exchanged names, wished each other a good day and parted.


Crafty Dayeseye said...

I love that you talked to him as civilly as you did, I probably would have just kept walking and ignored him.

and no, never pssssssssst. never.

Elspeth said...

I usually ignore them, but today something made me turn back.

Lynn Cohen said...

You are be careful...
Shame on the pssssssssters!
Love your head dress and the photo in the sidebar of you is beautiful.

Unknown said...

Good for you. happier yet that he received the message. You lose some, you win some