So, I took the L yesterday to Best Buy (d--n laptop charger died!). Standing at Roosevelt station, minding my own business, when two young African-American guys next to me ask that question. Quite loud. Then bust out laughing. I stiffen, look straight ahead and walk away. They point at my camera. "What's in there? A bomb? ... Nah man, maybe it's just some good ol' drugs." I cannot believe what I'm hearing. I pretend not to hear, lean against a pillar and wait for the train to arrive. They follow me. "We're undercover man! Oh no, if we're undercover, then we just blew our cover." More laughter.
Minutes pass by. I look around. The platform is crowded, the Red Line is running slow. There's several white folk, several black folk, a few East Asian folk. I'm certain all those around me have heard these two young jerks. No one says a word. All look away. "Stupid jerk teenagers!" I tell myself. Think they're being really funny. Why the heck is the train not here? Ah there it is ... but it trundles on past, an express. I move again. I don't want to be in the same compartment as these guys. They follow me again. Ok, this is no longer funny. "They're just kids" I keep telling myself. Getting angry and getting into a fight will not be helpful at all.
The train finally arrives, and at the last second, I dash into a different compartment, and find a seat.
Strangely, I haven't shared this with anyone yet ... (well, with R in NYC on the phone, just a little while ago) it's like I did something wrong (which is, of course, ludicrous).
I've never experienced anything like this. Not even in the UK. And most certainly not in the South. Yes, they were just teenagers being jerks. I brush it off and forget about it. And hope those teens don't pick on the 16 year old Indian or Pakistani or Middle Eastern kid in their neighborhood or high-school.