Yesterday, Ryan decided to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing lunch on our porch balcony. He walked out there and was surprised to see our neighbor sitting across the way on his balcony.
"Hey!" Ryan said, taken back a bit because we've never seen anyone sitting on their balcony.
"Hey," the guy said, lowering his cigarette. He is probably in his early thirties and is very friendly and talkative. He once invited us to the Juneteenth Festival in downtown Buffalo--but then told us to bring a gun because we would be the only white people. We weren't sure if he was joking--about the invite or the gun. It was awkward.
Yesterday, though, he started with a question, not an invitation. He looked at Ryan's bowl skeptically and said, "What you eating? Cereal?"
"No, a salad."
Apparently this is funny because the guy burst out laughing. I can just imagine his inner dialogue: This kid is a salad-eating weenie.
After finishing his chuckle, he started in with, "I have another question for you, my brother. "
"Okay," Ry responded, holding his salad bowl protectively.
"Is eating Sour Patch Kids and smoking marijuana bad for my teeth?"
I must add that, during this conversation, I was sitting just inside the open porch door working on my computer. As soon as I heard that question, I knew this was going to be good. I started taking notes.
"Smoking anything is bad for your teeth," Ryan answered and went on to explain about periodontitis and bone loss. (I think he was trying to assert his manhood via intellect.)
The neighbor wasn't impressed. "Bro, you know too much about teeth. Being a dentist is boring. You need to get a different career--something that will stay exciting forever. Something like being a car salesman."
I'm sure Ryan could hear me giggling from inside the apartment, but he maintained his composure and said, "I don't think I would be a very good car salesman."
"Because I don't really like to talk; I like to listen a lot more than I like to talk." Ryan answered reasonably.
"Well, the best car salesmen are good listeners," the neighbor insisted.
Ryan didn't have a response to that, so he just started eating his salad.
The guy continued, "Or another really cool job would be dealing drugs. If you're a drug dealer, every day is different. You never know when you're going to get shot at, and you make lots of money."
(I must interject here, do you think Ryan would be a better car salesman or drug dealer?)
Ryan told him that he had no interest in being a drug dealer, even if it meant that he would get lots of money.
This led to a conversation about the meaning of life, true happiness, and religion. Well, it wasn't much of a conversation, really. It was the neighbor lecturing Ryan about his views on the universe. I guess he took Ry seriously when he said he likes to listen more than he likes to talk.
After about 20 minutes, I decided to call Ryan's cell phone so he'd have a reason to escape.
As his phone started ringing, Ry said, "Well, I better grab this."
"Okay, brother," the neighbor shouted from his balcony. "But you need to actually think about stuff. I'm telling you, I've done my research."
And I tend to agree. Ryan needs to forget about dental school. I think he'd make an excellent salad-eating, drug dealer...don't you?
|I can just see this thug turning to a life of crime on the streets.|