Saturday, January 28, 2012

Different Fields

"You like this, college boy?"

I'm angry at him, not just for the improvised weaponry but for the insult.

I think of quipping back "You think I went to college?" But he knows what I look like. I stare into his eyes.

I answer "I like keeping people from hurting themselves. And others."

I push on his shoulders and we keep him down.

I think about a co-worker. He insulted her. He threatened another, a man I respect. I'm angry, but I mean what I say.

I'm an interpersonal hawk. War scares me. Fights not so much, but still to a degree. I respect them more. I know that fights and individ dueling can represent larger structures. Indeed, I know I represent standing order. I'm being oppressive. But all I can think about are the razors he made in minutes. All I can think about is his lazy attempt to hide them.

I continue to hold him.

I want to reject him for his class status. He's one more angry man who's lost a lot. Now he's acting out in paper clothes surrounded by strangers.

But he looks at my eyes and stabs more deeply than he'll ever remember. "You like this, college boy?"

I do. I'm an imperial agent and it feels good sometimes. Not today. I think about why that is.

He gets my number, I tell another comrade. He knows what I am. I'm a clerk and an interpersonal diplomat, and I deceive and I redirect and I negotiate.

I write out the quote and pin it above my desk. I will remember how he humbled me, remember how I hung on. Remember why I did it, and why I'd do it again, and that it is still infliction of power no matter how I dress it up.