Modern Worry

As the bickering between the two men intensified, phones emerged from pockets and purses around me—their eager eyes trained on the construction worker. He was not shy about lobbing racial stereotypes at the other man who kept assuring that he would, in turn, break him. It was apparent whatever transpired here would be on the Internet almost immediately. “Bigot Gets Broken” or “East Van SkyTrain Brawl,” Facebook’s trending headlines would read. I imagined GIFs populating comment sections and Huffington Post articles. Then someone would spot my shocked expression in the background and make a separate GIF of my mouth agape with a hand over one eye, which would then surrender itself to meme-dom. My face would be the response of anonymous commenters reacting to the new Star Wars series or some pop star’s abysmal prison gruel of a single. Thankfully an elderly man stood up, told them to cut it out and the phones bowed, dejected.