Woman: I want to talk to you about life. It’s just too difficult to be alive, isn’t it, and try to function? There are all these people to deal with. I tried to buy a can of tuna fish in the supermarket, and there was this person standing right in front of where I wanted to reach out to get the tuna fish, and I waited a while, to see if they’d move, and they didn’t—they were looking at tuna fish too, but they were taking a real long time on it, reading the ingredients on each can like they were a book, a pretty boring book if you ask me, but nobody has; so I waited a long while, and they didn’t move, and I couldn’t get to the tuna fish cans; and I thought about asking them to move, but then they seemed so stupid not to have sensed that I needed to get by them that I had this awful fear that it would do no good, no good at all, to ask them, they’d probably say something like, “We’ll move when we’re goddam ready you nagging bitch” and then what would I do? And so then I started to cry out of frustration, quietly, so as not to disturb anyone, and still, even though I was softly sobbing, this stupid person didn’t grasp that I needed to get by them, and so I reached over with my fist, and I brought it down real hard on his head and screamed: “Would you kindly move asshole!!!”
And the person fell to the ground, and looked totally startled, and some child nearby started to cry, and I was still crying, and I couldn’t imagine making use of the tuna fish now anyway, and so I shouted at the child to stop crying — I mean, it was drawing too much attention to me — and I ran out of the supermarket, and I thought, I’ll take a taxi to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I need to be surrounded with culture right now, not tuna fish.
But you know how hard it is to hail a taxi. I waved my hand, and then this terrible man who came to the street after I was there waved his hand, and the taxi stopped for him because he saw him first, and the injustice of it made my eyes start to well with tears again. So I lost that taxi. So I raised my hand again, and the next three taxis were already full, although one of them still had his “free” light on which made me angry, because if he had had it off, I probably wouldn’t have raised my arm, which was getting tired now, I think hitting the man with the tuna fish used some muscles I wasn’t used to using. And then this other taxi started to get near, and this woman with groceries came out, and she started to hail it and I went right over to her and shouted smack into her ear: “If you take this taxi from me, I will kill you!” And she looked really started, and then the taxi stopped, and I got in, and I said, I want to go crosstown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I might have culture, and quiet, and things of value around me, I have had a terrible time in the supermarket. And then the taxi driver, who was Greek or Muslim or Armenian or something, said to me, I have to go downtown now, I’m about to get off work.
Well, I thought my head would explode. I mean, was his taxi available, or wasn’t it? And wasn’t it law that they can’t refuse you, even if you want to go to Staten Island? But I just couldn’t bear the thought of pressing charges against this man — it would take days and days of phone calls, and meetings, and letters, and all because he wouldn’t bring me to the goddam Metropolitan. So I sat in his taxi and I wouldn’t move. I thought for a while about going back and following through on my initial impulse to buy a can of tuna fish — tuna fish, mixed with mayonnaise, is one of the few things I can make in the kitchen — but then I realized that probably whoever was at the cash register would give me difficulties, probably because I was a woman, or because she was a woman, or maybe it was a man who hated women, or wished he was a woman — anyway it all started to seem far too complicated; so I thought, I’ll just stay in this taxi cab, and I’ll be damned if I get out. And he kept saying, “Lady, please, I have to get home to my family.” And I said “Where? In Staten Island?”