Once again, we are dismayed at the number of San Franciscans – or at least people treading on Embarcadero ground – who are not interested in taking the number. Lots of folks do take the number though; many ignore us or shake their heads. Several say “thank you” as they rush by. Thank you??? A few seem truly shocked to see the number of U.S. dead - a shock that reverberates in us. How could they be in San Francisco and not know?
But it is the very infrequent white male - & it usually always is – who looks at the number, looks at my face and says “Oh, is that all?”
One such suited and groomed older fellow, leaning his upper body too close to me as he set his hard face into a grimace, peers at the slip, puffs up & politely snarls “that’s not even how many died here”.
More and more these days I feel the rage just under my smile as well. Tonite it doesn’t allow me to say my usual “oh, so is that your goal, to kill another 2,789 Americans?” Or to say “obviously, one of these numbers is not your son”.
Tonite I flip the hot pink slip over & ask him if this number pleases him then. “There’s no proof” he blusters, knowledge of the John Hopkins report flickering a moment before distain envelops his features as he challenges me to prove it. I just look at him, as deeply as I can before I say “one dead is too many, son” And I turn away, refusing to engage in this numbers game anymore.