Friday, June 12, 2009

Bare Feats

Little Margaret Finnegan had one of those days. You know, you start out feeling great, say good morning to the world, pick some roses, sing a ditty, pet a kitty, and then someone shits all over it. Nothing serious – just bad enough to snap your open heart shut like a tapped oyster.

It’s the chance encounter where a stranger has an ax to grind, and he grinds it in your forehead.

One such encounter I had is particularly vivid, and happened in the college days.

I was walking down the streets of Hollywood, barefoot, which has always been my preferred method of transportation. A woman on the other side of the street screamed, “Put on some shoes you whore! You filthy whore, get dressed. You're nothing but a prostitute!” And she tracked my progress that whole block, continuing to shout.

Here’s the thing.

When someone screams something crazy like this, do people turn to check out the screamer? No , they all stared at the screamee. The entire time. Apparently thinking, well let’s get a good look at this whore.

A stronger person probably would have yelled back, providing information to correct the impression of a professional status. I, of course, said nothing.

But the story eventually paid for itself because it’s one I’ve told many times, in the service of some point or another.


  1. I think you did the right thing.
    If you're gonna argue back you might as well be ready to go to the ground and apply the gi choke.
    But not all of us want to rip our jeans, unless its in a fashionable manner.
    My brother-in-law is a master at confrontation. We worked together
    back in the day and eventually developed a good cop/bad cop routine. A lot of fun if you're feelin' yer oats.
    And you got back up...
    I confronted a guy who was bullying my favorite convenience store clerk the other day; those people take a lot of guff, and I do not abide bullys picking on the weak. I managed to deter the bully,
    but then I had to go outside.
    He was waiting with his homie and a
    75 pound pitbull for me. I'd seen them coming up to the store from 100 yards off and could tell by their posturing they were trouble.
    They threatened to put the dog on me. I ignored them and walked to my truck and from behind the cover of my door, put an icepick up my sleeve and a retractable razor in my pants pocket. I keep a few tools handy in the door; you know, for work stuff.
    I knew I'd have to kill the dog before I could get to Homes, and then put him down for certain.
    I think the lack of concern in my eye and decision not to rise to the bait confused them, and they decided to walk away. Probably saved us all a trip to the emergency room. Besides, I had a brand new pair of whites on, no holes. Boy, they look good!

  2. Hollywood seemed seedy when I first saw it in '72 and it still felt seedy when I stayed up there for a couple of days last year. I'm surprised the place has managed to maintain it's allure for John Q. Public all these years.

    I often seem to be on the verge of confrontation when I'm out in public. But I'm so bad at confrontations that I bite my tongue most of the time.

  3. I was in a writing workshop with a woman who said that every character I wrote was "a dirty whore!!!"

    It was really funny -- but also scary in that maybe-this-person-is-going-to-be-near-my-car-after-class kind of way.

    I'm impressed that you walked around HOllywood barefooted. You're no whore. You're an explorer!

    WV: vorgly (What that woman was who called you a whore.)

  4. I grew up in Hollywood and West Hollywood and spent some of my student years/early working years in an apartment across from the Sunset and Fuller Ralphs. Your description of that day brings it all back. That stuff is even creepier when you're a child, but then you learn to expect and ignore it, at least outwardly.

  5. Hollywood is a scary place when you're a kid. Yes. I never... no I hated the movie Pretty Woman for that reason. There's damage done that one can't always just shake off when given a bath and a new dress.

  6. I'm still trying to picture you walking down Hollywood Blvd. in bare feet.

    It's very disarming to be yelled at by crazy people, but pointless to engage them. I made that mistake once and it escalates crazy fast.

  7. Thats right...send them all my way while I'm sitting on the pot. Like I'm not having enough problems today with my digital conversion box.

    maybe Bandit and MrV should meet up. I once saw Mr V grab a pit bull by it's ear stumps and fling it into a wall.


  8. I was thinking the same thing, pa. Keep those two a few states apart.

    Isn't it funny how the crazies don't think "whore" says quite enough, so it has to be preceeded by filthy or dirty. Don't you think I'm calling you a clean whore, missy.

  9. "Little" Margie Finnegan? There you go again.
    She's no midget, KB!
    Well, she certainly eats like a horse, which you might know about.

    Everytime I've seen MF, I've witnessed her eating. So, she makes me smile. It's hard to imagine her having a bad day, even less giving one.

  10. are you calling me a whore?

  11. You took a right decision !! I mean there is no point of making out the scene...Ignore and better be the way we are....Good One..Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

  12. Some folks are not worth acknowledging.

    The starers wanted to see what you would do. They could see you weren't a whore, filthy or clean. They just wanted a reaction, like the one the nutcase was going for.

  13. No, pa, I'm not. I'm cutting out dog pictures.

    Petrea, it's ok, I get it now, these many years later. It's just amusing that no matter how crazy the accurser, everyone checks out the accused.

    Now Jean has some good stories, I'm sure.

  14. What has being barefooted got to do with being a whore? That's a new one.

    Rarely if ever am I confrontational in public but love to replay it and think about what I coulda, shoulda, woulda have said or done.

  15. Wow. I love hollywood! Where else in the world can you smell urine and fame?

  16. Hold on. Did Cafe Observer say that I eat like a horse?

  17. Oh my gosh. I feel like I was just walking barefoot in Hollywood and someone called me a dirty whore.

  18. Sorry. I got a bit distracted. I can't believe anyone said that to you. I just want to tell that horrible person to GET A LIFE and drive arrive more. Clearly, you look neither dirty nor whorish. You are gorgeous and have very appropriate deportment and attire, with or without shoes.

  19. How could that C.O. say such a thing! You don't even have a horse.

    However, I think he was just using a well-respected creative writing trick to say you have a big appetite for life, mf!

  20. The reason they're checking out the accused is to follow the (normal) person's reaction--how the person is registering the surreal experience.

    I think they might be identifying with and sympathizing with the yellee. Because certainly they can't identify with the yeller.

  21. The yeller truly was insane because if you really were a "whore" you'd be wearing 6-inch stilettos, not going barefoot. Maybe that was her problem: In her mind you were a whore, but you weren't properly attired for your role. Maybe she was the Ms. Blackwell of Hollywood.

  22. Now Mr Earl has me thinking. I mean, are you leaving anything out of this story KB,

    Incidentally, this is World Naked Bike Ride weekend and the real reason Virginia is in Paris. She decided B-ham wasn't "Parisian" enough for her Peugeot. Personally, I'm Schwinning it later this afternoon/evening/midnight/whatev.

  23. speaking from experience, if you make eye contact with the yeller, then he or she turns on you.

  24. I interested in how bare feet means whore. Who knew.

    I think you were definitely the stronger person...

  25. She probably would have found pretty usual to see a 89 woman with pink hot pants but not who walk barefoot. That's America and you did the right thing (btw I ever loved you walk barefoot)

  26. = (btw I ever loved who walks barefoot)