Posts tagged wuss
Posts tagged wuss
When I moved away from Hawaii in my early twenties, my dad—a man of so few words, I’d listen wholeheartedly at the crack of introspection in his voice—told me: “I don’t worry about you. The only thing I worry about is that you’re fearless.”
It was the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me. This was the badass in the Vietnam photo with a bottle of whiskey in one hand, a pack of smokes in the other and a blown-up dirt shit town behind him telling me I was fearless. This was the firefighter who once set fire to his own car to “stick it to the insurance clown trying to swindle him” talking to me about cojones. It was an honor and a tall order. I didn’t want to let him down.
I’d somehow missed the “worry” part about his bon-voyage sentiment. The parental caution of “Don’t mistake gusty for stupid, you young, naive woman who has barely ever lived away from home and likes to get mouthy.” So what did I do in my new city of Los Angeles? I drank four cocktails, got in my car, blasted “Where Is My Mind,” pulled up to a loud spectacle of a bar and drank more long island ice teas and more vodka tonics because it was fun and I didn’t give a fuck and what else was there to do but head to the afterhours club until a cop pulled me over and threw me in jail. I didn’t let go of my purse when a man mugged me and dragged my swearing person down the sidewalk (“I will not let go, asshole!”), leaving me with scars on my hip bones. I believed, when I wanted to, in the magic of the pull-out method. You know, real, brave stuff.
Now, a decade-plus later, it’s rare that I find myself in a situation where I’m looking for trouble, or where bar-hero (-antihero?) bravado is necessary. The only white-knuckling thing I do is sit at computer and hit send, hoping that the essay I just attached was “ready” and that the editor will write me back.
Then the other night, I was supposed to meet friends at a bar in an isolated corner of no man’s land, Red Hook, that is mass-transit free. The bar was so far away from modern-day civilization, it was literally on a cobble road. My iPhone had directed me to get off in Carroll Gardens and then walk 1.5 miles to my destination. That sounded far and cold more than anything else, but I thought, eh, I’ll figure it out once I get off the train.
However, as soon as I came above ground, I was immersed in a 1984 gang film with 1940s grifters. There was an eerie silence in the air, businesses were blacked out and shady characters were loitering near lamp posts casting a noir haze. Except I was in Carroll Gardens, the most gentrified place on the planet, and if I was 25 again, these shady people would appear regular and broke like me and I would’ve found them charming. Just because there was a lack of noise and open businesses and I was wearing an office blouse, was I now a pussy?
Yes, apparently. I walked about five blocks, near industrial buildings and the side of a freeway, thinking happy, alive thoughts until I spotted a cab and jumped in. I don’t have to prove shit.