Today I was walking out of Grady to lunch and this dude was standing out on the sidewalk right in front of me. Every single one of his teeth was fractured and decayed. But still, he was smiling big and wide and looked pretty content. And since I've worked here a while and know that dental insurance in some places is right up there with sightings of leprechauns and unicorns, I was cool with this happy man.
"Hey there, sir!" I said as I prepared to walk by.
"Hey there, sugar!"
And no. Names like "sugar" and "baby" don't really bother me at Grady. Unless the person is being fresh. And I can tell when they're being fresh. He wasn't.
"You alright today, sir?"
"I'm blessed, baby. I'm blessed!"
He smiled again, unashamed. And that part made me pretty happy considering he seemed to be leading a pretty hard life. "Alright then, sir! Have a good day and be easy!"
I waved my hand and picked up my pace. Feet clicking on the asphalt as I headed up the street to get some food. Nothing about it unusual. I got just about to the corner when I heard his raspy voice calling out to me. "Doc! Doc!"
I swung around and saw him jogging up approaching me. I turned to face him and waited for a few moments on the corner for him to reach me. Nothing about it scared me. But I do always make sure to fully face people and keep my eyes aware of everything.
"Doctor. . .look here--thanks for waiting for me," he panted.
"No problem. What's up, sir?"
"Look here. . . can you let me hold a couple of dollars?"
I furrowed my brow. "Hold a couple of dollars?"
"Yes ma'am. I'd sure appreciate it."
"Why-- so you could get some lunch? Let me just get you something if you're hungry. I'm going to lunch now."
Suddenly a sheepish grin covered his face and his voice fell to a mumble. "Well, naw, it ain't that I'm hungry per se." He chuckled when he said that.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I teased back. "Okay. So what's so urgent that you need two bucks?"
"Okay, well jest give me one then."
My hand was in my white coat pocket and I could feel the few loose dollars in my pocket. I tried to decide whether or not I should just give it to him and head to Subway or keep asking questions. Being the nosey person I am, I asked more questions.
"Okay. So not for food? For what then?"
Just then, a lady who'd been standing near him on the sidewalk yells out, "HE TRYING TO GET A LOOSEY!" Then she doubled over laughing as he waved his hand shooing her away. She kept giving him a hard time. "ALL HE WANT IS MONEY FOR A LOOSEY, DOCTOR! MAAAN! THAT LADY DOCTOR AIN'T GIVING YOU NO MONEY FOR NO LOOSEY!"
And that? That made me laugh out loud.
And made me acutely miss my sister. Here's why:
Deanna used to always say that I was just a little too square. "You cool and all. . . but you a square," she'd say. And that all started one day when I told her that I'd heard someone say that he has a square in the morning and a square after each meal. I had no idea what he was talking about. Once he explained that a "square" was a cigarette, I immediately stuck it on my "stuff to ask Deanna" list. Since she was the queen of all things urban and random.
"Hey Dee? You know what a 'square' is?"
"You mean a cigarette?"
I scowled. "How do you know that?"
"I know all kinds of shit. I'm smart but I'm still hood. It's a glorious combination, I tell you."
"A square? Like why do you know that a cigarette is a square?"
"'Cause I'm not a square!"
We both laughed. Then she added, "You probably don't even know what a 'loosey' is."
Instead of telling me, she just threw her head back and cackled out loud. At me. Hard. "Such a square, man. I'm revoking your Inglewood card."
Ha. I remember looking it up right then and there on Urban Dictionary.
a single cigarette that you buy from a store clerk for a minimal price. (rather than buying a whole pack of cigarettes)
I was broke as shit so i bought a loosey from the clerk.
Good ol' Urban Dictionary. Who knew?
Yeah. So thanks to that moment, today I knew exactly what a loosey was. Surely did. And there was no way I was sponsoring one.
"Dude. Are you trying to get me to buy you a cigarette?"
"My nerves is bad." That was his legit response.
"A loosey costs a whole two dollars? That's crazy!"
"Naw. I needed a lighter, too"
I shook my head and started laughing before heading across the street. "I can't buy you a loosey, friend. But thanks for making me laugh today. For real."
"Hell, you have not 'cause you ask not, right?"
"Right. Good luck with the loosey. And the lighter."
"I'm feeling lucky, baby!" And with that, he showed me every single tarnished tooth in his mouth--without any shame in his game.
I loved it.
Not sure why I shared that. I think it's because if Deanna were here, I would have told her about me getting to use the word "loosey" in a real life situation. As proof that I'm not as square is she thinks.