Graffiti is not a form of writing

I have a weekly Wednesday night writing group that I’ve been meeting with for about a year and a half now. To get to the pub I get off the shuttle at Civic Center and have to walk through the Tenderloin. Normally that walk is interesting site seeing but pretty tame. Tonight was more entertaining.

First off this young guy with his baseball cap askew and wearing baggy pants and a huge long sleeved t-shirt (all the rage in apparel these days) comes up to me and starts walking and chatting with me. Just making small talk at first, then says something about getting together at Starbucks which I laugh off. Then he asks where I’m going and I tell him I’m headed to a bar to meet with my writing group.

“So what, like graffiti?”

Which made me laugh! “No, short stories.

“So for reals, can I call you up sometime to meet at Starbucks?”

I tell him I have a boyfriend and he says he’s not going to disrespect that and we part very amicably.

No, for reals though? Is graffiti seriously considered a form of writing?! I might consider it art depending on the graffiti, but writing, no. And is Starbucks some de facto first date joint? If I was single I would’ve been one of those old ladies that says, “Kid, do you have any idea how old I am?” He wasn’t that much older than my son.

Right after that I had some drunk guy point somewhere at my middle and say, “Are those real?!” And I thought to myself, what is he talking about because it certainly is not my breasts. The he said something vulgar, but it wasn’t just rude, it was completely and utterly baffling to me — so much so that I couldn’t even respond, I just walked away trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with more stories from tonight, but let me share with you this New Scientist article on how novels help to uphold social order which says that storytelling serves an evolutionary purpose. It claims literature conditions people to be social creatures concerned more for communal benefit than individual gain because these classic stories (the ones in the study) tend to stigmatize and punish those characters that are power hungry and selfish. Well that seems like, duh, to me. This reminds me of that study that said that people that read fiction were more empathic than those that didn’t. Duh.

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