After a great program of anti-war music, anti-war photography, an anti-war poem of mine and an anti-war extemporaneous lecture by Howard Zinn last night, I felt gratified and honored and lucky to have been a part of the event, full of zeal for peaceful solutions to the world’s problems not violence.
Then afterwards stepped into the rain and a wet Manhattan street to hail a cab for five—my little boy, his mother and aunt and his friend, and me.
The first cab—one of those new van size ones—was stopped on the opposite side of the street but kept ignoring me, so I began yelling louder and louder to him, and finally gave up and just cursed him out.
Then a regular sedan cab stopped, but when I said there were five of us he responded “no five, no five” and pulled off.
Then another sedan taxi stopped and when I went to open the front door, figuring I’d just get in the front seat and not even mention how many there were, he snapped the lock shut and waved me off, and I got so angry I started to slam the back door I had already opened for the others and didn’t realize my son’s friend was getting into the cab as I did it.
Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, but by then I was so pissed off at taxis in general and this one in particular I was swearing loudly and smacking my hand on the taxi’s window and cursing out the driver as he pulled off, scowling and waving me away like a pesky insect.
Suddenly I felt the embarrassment of being the only noise on the street, still swearing, so I stopped, and apologized to those around me, and was not the only one to get the irony of the peacenik poet ready to start a fight with a taxi driver only minutes after espousing peaceful solutions to everyone else’s problems.
I thought to myself how I hadn’t meant to do that, hadn’t meant to lose my temper, hadn’t meant to make an idiot of myself in the middle of the street, hadn’t meant to do anything but be kind to everyone and demonstrate the peaceful feelings in my heart.
But like someone said, I too often judge others by their actions—like those cab drivers who refused to pick us up—yet expect, or at least want, others to judge me by my intentions—just ignore the madman swearing in the middle of the street. And vote for peace.