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The Audacity to Switch Seats

The wife is out of town for a few days and my folks are in town for a few days. A perfect scenario for me to take my time coming and going. All of my normal stress that has me looking like I'm trying to relive those OJ/Samsonite commercials from the 70's has gone bye-bye for now.

Yesterday, I opted to take Metro North home and found an available seat on one of the rear cars of the train. It was on the 3-person bench, the one that allows for you to have a space between you and the person in the window seat because almost no one chooses to sit in the middle.

A well dressed middle-aged woman in a white wool coat was sitting in the window seat sporting a rather sizable Obama button. Before sitting down, we made eye contact and she gave me one of those half-smiles of acknowledgment that New Yorkers occasionally give each other. I sat down and resumed reading the paper in my hand. I was dressed pretty swank, if I must say so. I had on an off the rack wool car coat that fits like it was tailored, a pair of burgundy cordouroys (I was teased at work) and shirt and vest combo that along with my pageboy cap gave me a thirties look. My point is, I wasn't dressed like a security guard on his way home for the day, I didn't have on an oversized, ill fitting suit with my shirttails out, I didn't have my doorag hanging out of my back pocket, I wasn't wearing headphones, rapping out loud singing along with some song, yelling, "f-everyone, b, ho," and all the rest of it. Not that I do any of that stuff anyway.

I was chillin'.

As soon as I sat down, this Obama button-wearing woman closed her purse even though I was nowhere near it and not even looking her way. Needless to say, she wasn't black like me, and in all fairness I can't say a black woman wouldn't have done the same thing. And just because she wore a button supporting a black presidential candidate there was no real reason for me to think she wouldn't be wary of me, a completely harmless black man. Obama's that ideal on television making eloquent speeches. I'm just some dude on the train headed home to the skirts of the city.

It was the end of the day and I wasn't thinking about her at all. If I was thinking about anything it was my kids and watching this week's episode of the Office coming on later that evening.

I was hurt at first. Then I smiled. And then in an audacious move, I exercised my right of choice. I left that seat and walked to the other end of the car where I sat beside an Asian man who never even noticed I was there (or at least acted that way).

Election day is November 4th.

Whatever your preference.

Make sure you get out there and vote.

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