One Saturday in early December, a guy named Dan Gale sits in Sasha’s living room. Sasha’s family has invited Dan for brunch, and much of the last several weeks have been a “whirlwind.” He is just an “ordinary guy,” a construction worker on a bus, but when he put out the fire that day, he became “a hero, a Good Samaritan.” Debbie and Karl catch Dan up to speed on Sasha’s condition, and when Sasha finally come downstairs, Dan stands up. “Oh, wow,” he says. “How you doing, man?”
Dan Gale is a hero. Of all the people on the bus that day, Dan was one of the only passenger who tried to help Sasha. Dan’s comment when Sasha enters the room is another testament to how gendered the English language is. Presumably, Dan has followed the news and Sasha’s case, yet he still refers to him as “man.” Of course, the word “man” has become a catch-all term for anyone, but it is still rooted in masculinity.
They all thank Dan for putting out the fire, and he awkwardly responds, “Man, I’m sorry I couldn’t’ve done more.” He tells Sasha that he has seen them on the bus for quite some time, “always with a book in hand.” Dan says that he once put another fire out years ago when his friend caught fire after a car accident. “Who’d even imagine it was a skill he’d need to use a second time?” Slater writes. Dan asks Sasha what they want to happen to Richard now that he has been arrested and charged. “It’s really hard to know what I want for him,” Sasha says.
Dan again uses gendered language when addressing Sasha, which further underscores the pervasiveness of binary thought in the English language. Additionally, it is hard for Sasha to know what they want for Richard because they understand and appreciate that Richard is just a sixteen-year-old kid. Sasha knows that Richard is the reason why they have endured such pain, yet they are hesitant to condemn him to prison for life.