2008-12-11

A Cautionary Tale

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So there are generally two ways to walk home from the metro stop that I live near. One goes past normal row houses (the safe way), and the other passes a 7-11 and lots of projects (the unsafe way). Last night, on my walk home after procuring some Potbelly, the traffic lights didnt align to go the safe way, so I impatiently decided the unsafe way was a fair option. Mistake.

I get a block down the street when I see a man about thirty feet in front of me making erratic movements and shouting "I gotta get some money before I go to jail!" Interesting. i continue on my path when I was passing in front of the 7/11 doorway, this crazy guy says "hey man give me some change!" Now, I already have a bit of distaste about being hassled for money due to my time living near Tompkins Square Park in NY (look it up on wikipedia), so I was not in the mood to waste any time with this guy. Plus, I had a hot Potbelly sandwich in my hand, and a cold Mountain Dew waiting for me at the house that needed much more urgent attention. I half-heartedly fished in my pockets while still walking, and said "sorry brah, no change," without giving it a second thought. This did not suffice for the crazy man.

Said man then stepped in front of me and gave me a two handed shove and shouted "give me some dollars then!" After briefly wondering why he didn't ask for what he really wanted in the first place, I sort of froze for a minute out of shock. I said, "here brah, have my chips." He then looked at my hands...one of which was toting a sandwich and the other, chips. He then swipes at my hands and takes my Utz brand Salt 'n Vinegar chips which I love so dearly. I found this a bit odd since I had just offered to give him my chips, yet he found the need to "steal" them from me. I tell the gentleman, "take the chips, but you aren't getting any money from me," or something like that in what in my mind was a very stern and threatening tone, but in actuality was probably a startled, crackly voiced, unintelligible whimper. I start walking back from whence I came to go the safe way, and he follows, yelling at me to give him money. I turned around to continue the diatribe I had previously begun, when this man went for the knockout blow and took a swipe at my sandwich.

However, little did this kook know, I have reflexes like a cat. If fact, my reflexes are so quick my brain often can't keep up with my body, forcing such unfortunate events as tripping over my own feet and making numerous typos. Whilst in mid-swipe for my sandwich, he left my view of the bag of chips wide open, much like a boxer throwing a haymaker and leaving his body open for a huge uppercut. I capitalized on this mistake and quickly moved the sandwich out of the way, and in the same motion, swiped back the delicious green and yellow bag full of fried potato goodness. At this point, he realized that his overzealousness had left him with no money, no sandwich, and absolutely not a single trace of salt 'n vinegar chips. I stared him down, and defiantly continued on my path down the unsafe way home.

What have I learned from this? First and foremost, I have learned that I still love salt 'n vinegar chips. I have also learned that the unsafe way is the unsafe way for a reason. What did he learn from this? Well, he's left with only questions. Why wasn't I fast enough to get the sandwich? How was he quick enough to grab the chips back? Am I that much slower than I used to be? Should I have taken his word when he said he didn't have any change? How did I get pwned so badly??

These, as well as countless others, are questions that will keep him up at night.

Me....well....I slept well with a belly full of Potbelly goodness that tasted just a bit better than normal.

Keeping my head on a swivel so you don't have to,

Chris

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