I am a gero-punk graffiti artist. Only I know that my spray paint is impermanent and will wash away with it rains.
There is a person – look at them frown and fume! – striding toward me as I begin to spray
YOU DON’T WANT TO BE….
on the sidewalk in front of the playground at the park. I am asked what I think I am doing. I respond by asking them what they think they are doing.
We look at each other, eye-to-eye, for what seems like a long time. They have really lovely eyes: deep blue artesian pools surrounded by crags and crevices. We share silver hair though I have peacock blue streaks in mine. We are about the same size and height, it seems to me, though what do I know—I always feel like I am the same size and shape, even the same age, and like I am similarly embodied, in relationship to whatever creature I happen to be observing (Remember the story I told about trying to walk like the goose with the lame leg?).
Enough already. I have surfaces to deface.
I tilt my head to the right and hold up a can of silver spray paint.
They tilt their head to the left (are they mimicking me?) and hold up their splendidly ornamented walking stick.
I say: Care to come closer and take a look?
They are frozen at first. Then they shuffle side-to-side in a dance of indecision.
So I shrug my shoulders in response. I return to my work, finishing the gero-punk inscription
My peripheral vision sucks but I feel movement, energy originating from behind me, arcing wide to home in at my right side.
I keep at my project until it is complete.
YOU DON’T WANT TO BE OLD? STFU!
I turn to look at the old one beside me. They are sussing. And either they have intensely bad hyperopia or they are about to kick my ass.
Right hand on my hip, can of silver spray paint in my left hand, I ask: So? What do you think?
They say: What the hell do you know?
I say: I am not sure what the hell I know. What the hell do you know?
Then I offer them the can of red spray paint.