Sid: the six figure man
After my late night gym session, I found myself sulking in my bed. I needed at least 45 more grams of protein so I hopped in my car. I took a single hit of weed, just enough to hide behind my eyes, but not enough to cloud my mind. The mild paranoia mixed with the throws of a recently ended toxic relationship propelled me passed my local wawa toward I-95. My late night visits to her house had become a regular thing, but it is truly over, so I detoured and headed north towards the city. My plan was to go to Geno’s and get two cheesesteaks, but combine the meat onto one roll to save on carbs. The struggle is real..
My passed relationship was with a stunning Indian woman, so serendipitously, at least 60% of the people I would encounter on this trip, would be of Indian decent. The guy at Sunoco who sold me the pack of cigarettes that I am now more than half way through was Indian. He had a kind face and if I had not been cloaked in the cold air of a stranger, we would probably be homies. Like if I lived around the corner, I would see him every night and we would randomly chat about the weather or sports. I surely would have asked him at some point about his ethnicity and hoped he was one of the maybe 10–15 middle eastern cities that I know, so that he thinks I’m cultured. But there were cheesesteaks in my course, so there was no time for rapport building.
I arrived at Geno’s. I made quick eye contact with some drunk college girl, and I quickly dismissed it, because unless she wanted to have sex with out talking, or listen to all of my problems with my ex than I would be of no used to her. With every step toward the counter I get more excited over the cheesesteak. I was pondering the age old question of whiz wit or whiz wit out. That little bit of weed snuck out from behind my eyes and I momentarily worry about the upcoming transaction. Sometimes I forget that I’m 225 pounds of mostly muscle and I have a burly beard, and I think people are actually going to be mean to me. Plus, Geno’s has a reputation for Go-Fuck-Yourself service. Luckily for me, the lady at the front counter likes beards because even though she wanted to be condescending when I didn’t properly specify if I wanted whiz wit on both sandwiches , she couldn’t help but relax the tension in her brow and move her cheeks into the early stages of a smile. Our transaction took a near fatal turn when she informed me that it was cash only. I had only budgeted for an upper first world-twenty dollar meal, so when inflation/supply pushed the price of a cheesesteak to over $11 per I needed to explore other options. The lady at the front gently guided me to the ATM across the street.
I took out enough money to officially own the cheesesteaks. Walking back across the street towards the counter, I had two things on my mind. Is my ex Indian lady thinking about me, and did I make the right decision ordering onions on only one of the cheesesteaks? I was jolted out of my equivocation by the words “I am a six figure man!” Words spoken at a volume high enough for those around to hear in a tone that was assertive, but mixed with a squeal that was pleading to be needed. My sense of self righteousness was set a blaze, and I couldn’t wait to look up and feel really good about myself. I was not surprised that the night remained true to it’s lesson, and the six figure man was Indian. He was my age, early thirties. HIs companion was a much younger black women with a round face. The reason he so loudly proclaimed his self worth was because he and his lady were having that awkward early relationship moment were she tests him by offering to pay. I looked to her to see if she would accept his proclamation. Personally, I would have failed him for being devoid of any sort of debonaire quality, but I am not her. Her round jaw moved down and out showing mild surprise and anger, how ever, she quickly processes the fact that his six figuredness was already placed at the top of his list of qualities when her and her friends decided she could be alone with him.
My Indian and I had a tumultuous relationship. We fought constantly. India and I both missed that early twenties child bearer’s boat. We found ourselves in our early thirty facing a ticking clock. It is an economic truth that the cost of raising a child is a defining factor in the amount of children people will have. I guess, watching our family members raise children on a very low budget was a deterrent from having any outselves, and given the fact that a cheesesteak cost $11, we were probably correct.
I knew she wanted kids though. I did too. But the hopelessness we have both felt since our early twenties broke us up nearly on weekly basis. Sending me into the arms of other women, because that’s how I deal. These other women played a huge part in our ensuing bi-weekly trysts. My behavior made it almost unfathomable for her to believe how much I loved her, but early on I started to think of kids. It’s not always clear; but I’m a planner. It took her months to see the correlation between her ethnicity and the man in the center of the Buddha under the Tree of Enlightenment tattoo have on my right shoulder. The story of Siddhartha was life changing to me in my mid twenties, and although sometimes my ego takes me so far away from home, I always have that story to go back to. It had only been three months in one of the most fucked up relationship, but I had already named our first son Sid. I thought it to be a strong name to bestow to a boy who was half Indian/half whatever the fuck I am…
The comedic tragedy of modern day mating continued to the counter. The six figure man’s level of intoxication made it very difficult for him to understand that Geno’s does not have pepper jack cheese, but my new friend working the counter, once again, dropped her South Philly mean mug, and gracefully directed them to provolone.
“$22” says my friend. The six figure man hands her his card to which she replies “cash only”.
“But I only have six dollars” says the six figured man. That little bit of weed creeped out from behind my eyes and I lost it. I melted to the irony. He was in such a sensitive situation that the thought of there being an ATM anywhere in the area was lost to him. He looked to his companion to pay while I am still dying with laughter on the inside. She was hungry and paid without any reaction.
I sat down to combine my sandwich into one, and ate. My last recollection of this couple was me sitting on the bench with her floating passed my right shoulder and him coming out of an ally zipping up his zipper no more than 40 feet away from where he just ordered.
I thought of Sid. Essentially, this six figure man coming out of this ally is what my Indian and I are attempting to create. The cost of his education, his pepper jack cheesesteaks, and general welfare contributes significantly to our denial of reproduction, although we are still biologically predisposed to try.
I thought of Sid. I thought of what type of man he would be. I thought about how his skin tone and nose size would effect the world. I wonder wether looking glass theory would push him towards dispassion, or will he have the courage to remain resiliently childlike. I worried about my ability to guide him properly considering that I would rather him have a kind face like the guy who sold me cigarettes, or the grace of my friend at the counter, than make six figures and troll the world with the cold air of the man coming out of the alley zipping his zipper.
I thought of Sid; I thought of her.