Rohit's Realm

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September 28, 2005

Cocaine Chic

Beware, dear readers, because this is going to be a story about bums. This shouldn't surprise you, of course, if you've spent any time here in the past three years, since I think it's abundantly clear that in the last four odd years I have lived in the Bay Area, my life has become one trite, shitty, unending story about bums. You get one guess as to where the latest chapter unfolded today ... give up? Yup. That's right. The MUNI ride home.

Generally speaking, the MUNI ride home during rush hour is enough to make the most touchy-feely person claustrophobic, but the crowd tends to suddenly disseminate around Carl & Cole, actually allowing one to move more than an inch without getting uncomfortably personal with the questionable person next to you. For a change, today, the train car I was in emptied out almost entirely, leaving only me and another individual (a.k.a. the bum in question), sitting across from each other. I was staring absently off into space listening to my iPod, and the bum was staring intently at me. Finally, when I was about to get up and move, distressed by his gaze, he spoke:

Bum: What's that look you're going for? Cocaine chic? (cackling)
Rohit: (wondering how wearing dress clothes always draws the attention of random bums) Pardon me?
Bum: Don't bullshit me, man! I know your type! You financial district boys sure do love the snow! But hell, the look's in now - everyone wants to be cocaine chic!
Rohit: (more amused than angry, and in a particularly tolerant mood) What are you talking about? Don't you mean heroin chic?
Bum: Nah, man! Where you been? Heroin chic is way gone! That's so nineties! It died with Kate Moss' H&M contract.
Rohit: (feeling in over my head in terms of knowledge) Ok then, what's cocaine chic?
Bum: Man, what's wrong with you? It's you! Like, sort of anorexic, but not fucked up like you're on smack. Just real skinny, like you do a lotta coke. Dressed well, but not in poseur shit like A&F, you know? Abercrombie's out, buddy! Just look at all the cool bands these days - they're all cocaine chic, ya know?

It was at this point that I looked at the bum more carefully and noticed the small label on his disintegrating cashmere wool sweater - Dolce. D&G? As in Dolce & Gabbana? What? Where the guy got a $850 Dolce and Gabbana cashmere sweater the world will probably never know, but it was at this point that I decided not to dismiss the guy entirely.

Rohit: (already regretting my decision to keep talking) So, you seem to know a lot about the fashion industry and I don't know anything about clothes at all. Any suggestions on how to play up this obviously in-fashion look?
Bum: Well, for starters, you gotta watch your weight. The coke obviously helps (obviously), but you don't want to go too heroin neither. Pick up some European clothing and you'll be good to go. The ladies, or the guys, or whatever you're into will love ya for it! Anyway, I gots to go. Got some mo' cocaine chic folks to talk to out at the med school. (cackling) Peace out man!
Rohit: (almost to myself) Believe me, the pleasure was all mine.

And with a quick, fluid motion, he was up and out of the train at the UCSF stop, leaving me amused and confused, but for once, not consumed by anger and hatred. Was this guy a complete lunatic? Clearly. Did he probably steal that Dolce & Gabbana sweater from a rich prick somewhere? Undoubtedly. Was he, in fact, just a coke dealer who had done too much of his product? Maybe. Nevertheless, he seemed to know his stuff and even was kind enough to give me some advice. Now, whether this advice was sound, I leave to you to decide. However, you heard it here first, straight from the streets of San Francisco - cocaine chic is the way to be. Think about it the next time you're riding on some stupid form of public transportation - if nothing else, it'll pass the time.


Although I thoroughly appreciate the Rohit vs. Angry Bum stories since they are littered with funny dialogue, I think this takes the icing on the cake. As long as Ashton didn't run in screaming, "YOU GOT PUNK'D!" I think it's safe to say this guy might have been on the magic juice a bit too much. At least it was an amusing conversation rather than a bum telling you to die because he wants money for beer and not your leftover food.

I don't know, I think I had a rather odd reaction to this story. As soon as you mentioned the fact that he had a D&G sweater on I suddenly became attracted to him. What does this mean? Clearly, I cannot be serious with my life.

Dude, I don't think that guy was a bum. I think he was a UCSF student with some sort of "bum chic" fashion that you didn't catch onto. Now, I listen to bums chatting with each other all day at Cafe Med, and I have noticed this: their current events knowledge is limited to what they glean from the headlines of major newspapers (the ones they live on/sleep under) and nothing else. Therefore, they will say things like "Bush just made that dough-face white boy the head judge" but they will not say things like "Kate Moss got an H&M contract." We don't even HAVE an H&M yet in SF. I'm not ruling out the he-must've-been-on-drugs angle - though you'll recall that pushers never use, so he probably wasn't a dealer. I think you just had a polite conversation with a slightly asperger-esque art student with some kind of amphetamine in his system. The final clue that this was not a bum: you yourself say that you were "NOT consumed by anger and hatred" - when was the last time you ever got within 10 feet of a bum without extreme amounts of BOTH? It's pheromones with you dude. You did not hate, ipso facto this was not a bum. I rest my case.

Lizzy, you bring up an interesting point. He wasn't old enough to be a regular SF hippy-dip and the D&G sweater really makes it hard to believe he was a true bum. He was definitely on drugs, but I definitely agree that he might have been a grad student of some sort or maybe some poser rich kid slumming with that appearance.

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