I woke up slightly after midnight this morning and stayed up.
It wasn’t that the man standing there with his small bicycle outside the convenience store looked dangerous. His clothes were nice and he had a small backpack behind him. I watched to see as he approached someone who parked in front of the store. The woman exited her vehicle. Although I could not hear what was said her body language communicated that she was very uncomfortable. The man continued saying something to her and his body language wasn’t nice. As the woman walked hastily into the store, I exited my vehicle and darted in behind her. When I came out, his body language was off to me. He spoke quickly and the way he talked in combination with his body language made me uncomfortable.
That’s rare for me. I love convenience store interactions! Since I’m both weird and often unpredictable, it’s a great way to meet people. Even if they are weirder than I am.
I took two steps back and asked him to please stop as he of course he walked toward me.
I think he’s unaccustomed to people being direct. He took a step forward and I held my left hand up.
“Why you got to be like that?” he asked me.
“It’s barely 3:00 a.m. If you need money for something urgent, I would more than likely help you. But I saw you make the woman going in uncomfortable. Don’t do that.”
“Eff you,” he said and took another very small step towards me.
I laughed, even though I didn’t want to.
“Three things,” I began. “There are cameras literally everywhere. Second, you have no idea who has a concealed carry permit on them or a gun without one. Finally do I look like I’m in shape. Or do I seem nervous? I think it’s time for you to stop hanging out in front of convenience stores. And I hope whatever is going on in your life gets better. I really do. But this is going to end badly for someone because you’re making people uncomfortable and people are not quite sure what you’re up to. Fear causes a lot of needless reactions, the least of which is people calling the police.”
“It’s not a crime to talk to people,” he replied.
“Loitering is. Unless you have demonstrable evidence that you’re conducting business inside the store, someone is going to call the police and you’ll have to explain it to them.”
He stood there a second and I did wonder if he was going to threaten me or lunge at me.
So I ignored him and turned to walk to my car. I half-expected a hand on my shoulder. When I opened the door and sat down inside my car, he was already peddling away furiously on his small bicycle.
The convenience store I went to is one of the nicest, safest, most brightly lit ones in the area. It is immeasurably better than Wild Bills over on Garland. That place is a magnet for crazy. That’s probably why I like it.
I’m certainly no badass and I have yet to implement the new self-defense moves I learned last year. I rely on the fact that all but a very small percentage of people are either good-natured or have enough sense not to threaten other people. The biggest danger to me is still pepperoni or potato chips.
A very small sliver of me would like to know what I would have done had the man reacted differently. That little piece of Bobby Dean in me makes me nervous!