Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
On Friday, I was standing on a street corner, waiting for the light to change, minding my own Black business. I was deep in thought, trying to work out some questions I had about a character's backstory in an upcoming project. I imagine that the mental work had me staring into the middle distance like the haggard manager of a haunted lighthouse searching the horizon for beasties. As the light was changing, one final car--an SUV with tinted windows--coasted through the intersection. As it passed me, the driver yelled out the window "Don't think so hard!" and kept going.
I have not stopped thinking about it since. I have many questions.
One: what? Like, in general. Babe, why are we interacting? I am having an experience exclusively inside my own head. Is that allowed? In the Far Side version of this scene I'm standing under a sign that reads "No deep thinking" but, alas, the Far Side cartoon actually doesn't work because there's nothing in the image to indicate that deep thinking is occurring. Gary Larsen is going to have to keep this one in drafts, methinks.
The interior experience I'm having on this street corner solely concerns fictional characters that I made up in my brain. I assure you, beloved, none of this will impact your life in any way. (Although, I think it would be hilarious if these characters somehow ingratiated themselves into pop culture so thoroughly that they ended up creating a new religion or something and, 40 years from now, the SUV driver is brought in front of a dystopian tribunal populated by priests dressed like characters I made up--they're all wearing, like, cardigans and tennis shoes because I do not have a good costume imagination. Anyway, all the priests are like "For your crimes you will face a firing squad of confetti cannons!" And the SUV driver is like "THIS IS WHAT COMES FROM THINKING TOO HARD!")
I am perplexed by how aggressive the driver was about my thinking. It's like my slightly quizzical expression was a problem. I know that I have a fairly expressive face that rarely does what I think it's doing, but really how much active thinking can one really accomplish. I was standing, with hands in my pockets, maybe squinting a little bit. I wasn't even mouthing words or talking to myself. This is was makes me so confused! I was thinking like medium hard. Like a mango. The hardness of a mango. Or an ice cream sandwich. This isn't a very effective scale but I've already committed to it and there's no going back I guess.
Would it have been different if they'd had a more friendly tone? Like a kind of "Don't worry, be happy!" thing? Man, I guess. Irrespective of how disinterested I am in other people telling me how to live my life, I suppose that self-help street harassment is the better option. Now, this was in Philly so shouting out a car window does count as friendly conversation. The driver probably went back to house and was like "I made someone's day today! I bet he's going to write about it in his newsletter!"
He's half right.
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random thing on the internet
I've been thinking about making these sugar cookies all week.
"Don't think so hard!",