26 October 2010
7 weapons in the city
in august, you may remember, i bought a musket. what i didn't mention then and what still haunts me now is that in the course of getting that musket from the congress theater on milwaukee to forever yogurt on north ave, and declining a copy of street wise magazine at the intersection of milwaukee and north and damen, i accidentally waved my musket in the face of a homeless man.
if you think back to any movie or show where a seemingly harmless woman has suddenly whipped out a gun- i'm thinking dr. quinn, but then when am i ever not?- you can arrive at a pretty clear picture of this man's response to my waving a gun in his face. street wise was withdrawn. the phrase lady's got a gun! was exclaimed. and this homeless man whom i'd accosted with a broken approximation of an antique firearm staggered back swiftly on tiptoe, as though suddenly aware he'd been walking atop a barbecue.
as a sort of penance, i made myself walk the full 4 1/2 miles home that afternoon. in red velvet shoes. the gun strapped to my back.
drivers seemed infinitely more patient than usual when waiting for me to cross the road.
this was not meant to be the year i would bear arms- a phrase that only reminds me of my ongoing failure to read michael bellesiles' arming america and a statement that, i realize, may sound disingenuous coming from someone who has now twice published an essay entitled "oline, get yer gun." but please believe me- this was never my intent. it has somehow happened in spite of that.
in the last twelve months i've been steadily building an arsenal. should a prop war bust out in my home, i am, i assure you, now armed to the teeth.
i mention this because today at lunch, k.lo and i went to the costume shop. naturally, i bought a sword.
carrying this sword from washington, up dearborn, over to clark- the blade protruding awkwardly forward (dear man at costume chicago, seriously, who bags a sword?)- i was hyper-aware of every single homeless man in the immediate vicinity. i noted all the street wise vendors to my left and right. i paid extra careful attention not to point the sword at any of them.
this explains how i completely overlooked the four-year-old boy coming out the door from the opposite direction directly in front of me. the little boy whom i stabbed straight on in the chest, as though going in for the kill.