Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gabriel Shines

In 1995 I was just beginning my friendship with David. He is, and most-likely always will be my best friend. He was a gigantic geek, and I did not know this, but I was a gigantic geek in the making. I know today after seeing the success of George Lucas, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates that super geekdom is nothing to be ashamed of, but back then I thought it was.

David was a ‘Trekkee’, sorry, ‘Trekker’ and pretty hard core. Enterprise model on his bookshelf, Romulan Warbird hanging from the ceiling as you enter his room, and countless books and posters. I was already a huge Star Wars fan, but I never got into Star Trek because it did not have enough blasters and lighsabers to keep me interested. Plus it is really hard to get involved in something when you are way behind in information. How can you argue with your friends about which series is the best when you haven’t seen all of the seasons several times and have them on tape with no commercials?

I was scared… Scared of true geekdom, additional alienation in school, of the work it would take to become a true fan, and most of all I was afraid that someday in the heat of the moment I might cuss at someone in Klingon instead of good old American profanity. Needless to say all of my fears washed away when David sat me down with 7 VHS tapes filled to the brim with Star Trek DS9. Cisco, Kiera, Otto, Quark, Jake, Chief O’Brian, Kai Winn, Gul Dukot, Changelings and other Dominion types soon became good friends of mine.

I was happy, but trouble was on the horizon. Unbenonced to me Dave was a true card carrying ‘Trekker’, literally, he was a member of the Bakersfield chapter of the Star Trek club, and due to the upcoming series Star Trek Voyager I would soon become a member too.

If you have never seen a group of 20 plus Trekkers together in one place, it is truly a sight to behold. A generally reclusive bunch, Trekkers really come out of their shells when they have numbers on their side. The gathering for the first episode of the new series was a gamers’ paradise. Role playing, card games, and three level chess were all in effect when we walked in the door. David split off immediately to show off his skills in the Star Trek card game. He was always good at anything that was strategy based.

I was introduced to the leader of the group, an older lady with short almost white hair, a firm handshake, and a black belt in Judo, in full Star Trek garb. I met a lot of people that day, but the one that later truly blew my mind was Gabriel. This guy was off the charts in geekery. That day at the meeting he was presented with a full Star Trek uniform and his eyes lit up like an imploding sun. He ran off immediately to change in the bathroom. When he emerged he withdrew his tri-corder and ran a quick sweep of the Toastido chips to make sure everything was in order. He was just one year younger than Dave and me so it made sense that we would all become friends. Just to make the final point about what a sold out Trekker he was, he was actually in the documentary film “Trekkies’ .

As the weeks went on David and I spent more and more time together, in my high school years I practically lived at his house. After the meeting I attended Gabriel started coming over on a regular basis too. To be honest, I was a little jealous because Gabriel and David had way more in common. They were both computer junkies, and the current obsession for David was 3D graphic creation and rendering. It turns out that Gabriel, who was home schooled, was almost an expert. At the age of 12 while I was playing guns in the front yard with my friends, arguing over who shot who first, Gabriel was creating short films using graphics he created from scratch. This was before Pixar and as far as we were concerned it was almost cutting edge.

As the weeks went on I realized how much I did not like this guy. I know now that I was just afraid he was going to steal Dave from me. They had way more in common, and let’s face it… I was a computer retard, while they were essentially computer gods. Dave seemed to be spending more and more time in his room with Gabriel plugging away at creating some computer graphics. The norm was for David to be at my side, or as an adversary across the huge role playing and multi purpose table we had built. Being surrounded by all of my other friends was not enough! I wanted Dave’s attention. All of these feelings came to a head in a situation that pretty much changed me forever, and also solidified Dave, in my mind, as one of the best and true hearted people I would ever have the privilege to know in my life.

One of the many days the whole role playing gang was at David’s house, hold up in the garage, rolling away handfuls of six sided die trying to determine the fate of our characters, Gabriel interrupted David and I to show us something.

Note: For those of you who know me… To understand the rest of this story you must know that at that time in my life I was not the startling vision of kind hearted speech that I am today. For those of you who do not know me, I was then, still am today, and will forever more be a huge jerkoff.

David and I followed Gabriel through the maze of David’s house to the dungeon (Dave’s Room). Gabriel hit a few keys on the computer, jiggled the mouse and one of the most amazing things I had ever seen in my life appeared. I had heard a lot of talk out of Gabriel about his movies and 3D creations, but I had some idea in my head that it was a bunch of stick figure drawings. I could not have been more wrong! Before me was an original creation of Gabriel’s, a 5 minute story of two starships, full of amazing colors and affects that completely took me by surprise. Expectations change your view of things. Since I was expecting something fairly simple this movie was beyond comprehension to me. Gabriel was truly someone with a lot of talent.

After the movie ended with the two ships flying off into the light of a star, one of them swaying to and fro, I turned to Gabriel, and in classic Richard fashion proceeded to make a huge fool of myself. I said, “Gabe… I do not like you… But that was amazing!” In my mind this was a very high compliment. When your enemies have to bow down and pay homage to your superhuman skills you know you are truly being complimented. I thought adding the part about not liking him would actually increase the value of the sincere compliment I was trying to pay him.

Gabriel was not well socialized and was very used to dealing with jokes at his expense and general adversity from people his age. There was a silence for about 25 seconds then Gabriel graciously said thank you, and extended his hand to shake the one I offered after the extremely insulting compliment. I was still oblivious to the fact that I was making a colossal fool of myself. I left the room and David found me in the kitchen a few minutes later. He did not look happy.

“Why did you say that?” David questioned in as harsh a tone as I had ever heard from him. I could tell he was mad and that there was something wrong, but I could not understand what. “What?” I said, “I really liked it!” Then why did you have to say you didn’t like him.” I looked blankly at David for a moment and then it hit me… There in David’s kitchen with a piece of bread in my hand, taquitos in the microwave humming away, a chameleon staring at me from its cage, and Dave looking as stern as ever I realized for the first time in my near adult life one fact that I still commonly have to refer to in many situations….

I don’t have to say everything I think of! When a word or a thought is rolling around in my head I actually have a choice whether or not I want to let it out.

Gabriel and I never really became friends but we did hang out a lot, and I respected him., I never told him again how I felt about him unless it was good. From what I hear he has gone on to do great things in graphics and animation, and was trying to do a Star Trek movie. Dave is still one of my best friends despite my complete inability to exhibit tact or understand nonverbal cues from others. I never became a full blown Trekker but till this day I try to watch reruns of NG and DS9 at least a couple days a week. .

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SexEd Ambiguity

In 2002 I was working for Clinica Sierra Vista as a ‘Sex Ed Teacher’. I have always said it was one of the most fulfilling positions I have ever held, and would do it again if it paid better. I was hired due to my experience leading the junior high group at my church, and my solid personal goals. The other two in class teachers were more than twice my age. I was really excited to do it because I thought the piddley $13.00 per hour would allow me to work fewer hours and get some more college courses completed.

Junior high kids reacted really well to me, and I liked working with them. Most people do not realize, or cannot remember, what an odd and confusing experience being a preteen is. I always try to keep it in the forefront of my mind because it gives me perspective for today. Your body is growing at an alarming rate, hair is growing is funny places, and the girls that you used to chase suddenly start letting you catch them. I think the kids mostly liked me because I said the word penis in class so much. In fact, I used to start the very first class after the teacher introduced me by letting almost a minute of silence go by, me staring at them and them staring at me, both of us blinking the uncomfortable minute away, then muttering the ‘penis’ in a very low tone. After giving them another 10 seconds to realize what just transpired, then say it again with a little more confidence. We would start the first day by yelling penis, vagina, scrotum and breasts over and over again.

What makes someone qualified to teach sex education? I am still not sure, I think it has more to do with being able to handle the performance anxiety than anything else. It also could have to do with the ability to deal with the smell and maintain order in the class. I don’t know any nice way to say this… Junior high kids stink to high heaven. Their hormones have just kicked into high gear. They run around for fun and play all kinds of sports. They are usually too young to know what deodorant is and usually had my class right after a recess. They are stinky, unkempt little whelps, and I loved them for it. As for keeping order, I had an ingenious system of pitting them against each other military style. Right at the beginning of the class I would pick out the smart mouthed trouble makers, and take pride in making the class hate and disdain them. Well however I was qualified, I loved it!

We did classes for 6 weeks at several schools. After completing the first program, I was feeling good. I got to the second school and ripped right into the material with the kids. In the second week of the program something happened that pretty much changed me forever. I was fielding miscellaneous questions from the class, and in my usual style letting the kids do most of the answering to see how much they had absorbed.

One kid in the last seat of the center row had been real quiet for the first two weeks. I could tell that the kid, with a very round figure, budding breasts, and chin length jet black hair, was one of the outcasts of its class. In a very short encounter with the kid I realized that its breath was repugnant, and it had extreme body odor. As a life long do-gooder my heart leapt with the chance to help the kid look smart when its chubby hand reluctantly swayed up into the air to ask a question. I pointed to the kid, “YES you! Little lady in the back row.” A slight chuckle rolled through the class. The reluctant junior higher asked, “Mr. B…Why are vaginas so wet?” I replied, “Very good question!” Since the class had not covered the topic yet and I did not want to give another kid in the class the chance to demean the kid with a smarmy response I answered it for the class. I rattled my answer out quickly with clinical information, and a little joke at the end. Then to seal my fate I said, “Thank you for that question miss… What was your name?” The kid looked infuriated and stifled laughter started fill the room. ‘Little Miss Backrow’ stood up from its chair, face fierce red, arms locked at its side, hands balled into fists, and face puckered with anger and embarrassment, and half shouted, “My name is Jaime, and I am a boy!”

Chaos ensued. I was almost knocked off my feet. I wanted to reply, to do something, but for almost a minute I just swayed on unsteady legs in front of an out of control class. The insidious laughter was deafening. I glanced to my left at the Phys-Ed teacher at his desk, newspaper drooping and saw the same shocked expression on his face, wide eyed horror to be more exact. The kids were not just laughing at Jaime, they were also laughing at me. One thing I have learned about the evil junior high mind is that it loves to see authority figures fall flat on their faces.

It was only the second week of class. I had to spend 4 more weeks with this class and with that pour little kid that I just insulted in the worst way. Later that day after lunch, and before my next class Jaime came to see me. We both sat dejected on the rot iron steps to the P.E. bungalow. I said, “I am so sorry. I would never have done that on purpose.” Apparently Jaime had been doing some soul searching too and said, “I told my mom I did not want this hair cut. I wanted a cool surfer cut, but she really wanted me to have this. I think they call it a mushroom.” As the other kids played on football field, we just sat there in silence.

I saw Jaime one year later at the county fair. He shouted, “Mr. B!” across the crowded lane of people. I recognized him immediately, but he had floored me once again. He got his surfer cut alright! He also grew several inches, lost 30 lbs, put on some muscle, and had a girl on his arm to seal the deal. We chatted a bit, and he told me how my mistake in class had given him the motivation to stand up to his mom, and try out for the football team. All of this in the name of asserting his manhood. Sometimes good stuff comes from our mistakes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art solves Crime

In 1999 I was working for a sober living facility in one of my first accounting/IT positions. I accepted rents from crazies, dealt with Housing Authority payments and reconciliations, social workers, and loyally served the Manager Ethan.

Most of the people living at this facility have broken brains, addictions, and are generally nuts. We had recently received a new tenant named Eli. He was in his early 40’s schizophrenic, overweight, greasy, fro headed, and a convicted rapist to boot. Eli was a very quiet resident who enjoyed sitting in the shade in corner of the complex working away on his sketch pad. He took it everywhere and always seemed to be drawing. He had been skulking about the community for about a month when Jennifer moved in. I am not totally sure what her deal was, but she definitely used drugs, and was very flighty. However, she was good looking, early 20’s, long blond hair, big bright smile, and a sunny disposition.

From the day Jennifer moved in Eli started following her around the complex and trying to talk to her. The manager directly above me, Ethan, was smitten by the girl as well so he was very alert of the freaky Puerto Rican keeping his watchful eye on the young lady.

Ethan and I were both on call on the weekends, but normally I did not get called in because Ethan was almost always available. This community, as you can imagine, had problems with drugs, fights, shootings, and even a couple of deaths in the 18 months I worked there. Every morning I would read through the security reports while I was getting my coffee. Stabbings, shouting matches, altercations of all types, residents arrested for drugs, theft, and even prostitution. It was a generally exciting place to work.

Ethan had notice that Jennifer had not been around for the entire day Friday. He flipped through the security cameras over and over again throughout the day, looking for the beauty strolling through the community, or going into the shared recreation area. Alas, all day he did not see her. Near the end of my shift he called her social worker and reported that she had not been seen and did not respond when he went to her door. Eli also had not been seen all day.

Saturday night at about 9pm I received a call from the police saying that they needed someone to come down and open up the office and talk to them about a missing girl. After the call from Ethan on Friday Jennifer’s social worker called her parents, who after the waiting period called the police and reported her missing. The police informed me over the phone that they were at the community waiting for me, they had a witness that they needed to interview, and needed to let me know what was going on. I burned up the road, thinking the whole time, “Witness? What would they have a witness to?” When I arrived the police officers were standing out front… next to Eli.

I opened the front door and showed them to a private room. One officer went into the room with Eli and the other one stayed in the hallway to update me. He informed me that they were following up on a missing person’s case (I thought that they had been responding very quickly to a process that police rarely follow up on diligently). Eli sought the officers out when they arrived at the arrived at the complex. I also thought this was strange because he does not speak English very well, and had only said 3 words to me in a little over a month. The officer continued to tell me about the other residents he had spoken with saying that the last person they saw her with was Eli. Apparently they had walked out of the complex together early Friday morning. At this point the other officer opened the door and said that I should hear what he was saying. Eli was telling the story in his own words.

I don’t know what kind of accent he had, but it must have been Puerto Rican. He spoke evenly but had great trouble pronouncing English words. This was his story…
“Me and Jennifer were good friends. We went to get something to drink from the store. I was gonna buy her something. She is very nice…. (pause and stares off over his shoulder at a blank wall, shakes his head and returns to the story) We walked about 10 blocks to the market, I got a beer and I bought her a coke. I stopped just outside the door to talk to a friend of mine, and she continued walking. When I was done talking to Fred I saw her next to a semi talking to a man. I ran to catch up with her but she was pulled into the truck and it drove away real quick.”

The officers looked at each other with skepticism then looked at me. I whispered to the one nearest me that he has a record for rape, and is schitzo. The officer nodded, and asked Eli if he could describe the man or the vehicle. Eli said that he could do better than that… He could draw them a picture. The cops thought that was a good idea and left him in the room furiously working on the sketch that would put all the pieces together.

The officers and I chatted in the hallway and they stated that they did not believe him. He most likely raped and killed her. In the middle of this conversation Ethan showed up. He looked pretty frantic. He clearly liked the girl more than he had let on earlier in the week. While Ethan spoke with the officers I talked to our security guard, and read his reports for Friday night.

Finally after almost an hour Eli signaled that he was done. We all piled into the room. One of the officers stepped behind Eli to look at the sketch. The look on his face was puzzling to me. The situation was so serious and he appeared to be smiling. Was it so good that he thought it cracked the case? Was it a criminal he recognized? Was it a picture of Eli raping and killing the poor girl. The officer said thank you, took the sketch from the pad and told Eli he could go back to his apartment. Eli edged past the officers nervously, staring off over his shoulder and skulked out of the building. When he was gone the officer showed the rest of us the drawing. This is an actual copy of the drawing... before the police left with it I asked if I could make a copy.

The next Tuesday we found out from her parents that Jennifer had gotten into the truck willingly and paid her way to the coast with sexual favors, and eventually called her parents to pick her up in San Diego. Ethan was heart broken. Jennifer never came back to live at the complex. Eli was so happy that he was able to help the police, and walked around the complex telling everyone that he was working for the cops helping them crack cases with his expert art skills. No one else in the complex had ever seen one of his drawings. He never showed his art pad to anyone else.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Living on the interest

If you put $1 million in a regular bank account with average interest you would get a return of around $50k per yer and could probably live on it without even touching the principle. I decided I wanted to accomplish this goal shortly after reading Dave Ramsey’s ‘Total Money Makeover’ and realized that it is possible. Currently I am 2% there. However, the first 1% was the really hard part. The first $10k took me 7 years to save and the second $10k only took me 1 year to save. It is all down hill from here. However, I now know that when I get close to this goal I am definately going to change it to be an even higher number. Just to see how much I can do.

The original idea...

One day I was watching the movie Fight Club for like the 10th time and during the scene where Brad Pitt takes his hands off the wheel of the limo and lets it drift across lanes of traffic he yells, “Say one thing you wanted to do before you die!” One man shouts in reply, “Read a book!”, the other shouts, “Paint a self-portrait!” after this caught up in the moment I randomly exclaimed, “Punch a Giraffe!”

Originally, it was just some random thing that i said. But now I have actually fleshed out the idea. Travel to Africa, climb a tree wait for a giraffe to stick it’s big dopey face to get some food and WHAP!, right in the kisser. I have since imagined that there is a one in a billion chance that I might just knock him out cold. Then the ground would shake as the majestic beast crumples to the hard packed earth, a huge mass of limp gangly limbs. I can only hope.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Freemdom Sandwich

Freedom Sandwich
This occurred in the fall of 1998

In high school I had become friends with a Biology Teacher named Mr. Hanley. I took his class in my sophomore year and then acted as a teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. As his student I learned a lot, but not necessarily about biology. His main agenda was always to free our minds through his teaching. The classroom was very large, but only half of it had the standard black veneer toped 300 lb lab tables. The other half was full of cages with animals of all types; opossums, monitor lizards, lab rats, hissing cockroaches, a six foot iguana named Iggy with a horrible temperament, and partially bald white cockatoo with a nervous condition that caused him to pluck his own feathers. The floors were dirty, literally, not filthy, just had all kinds of debris on them. The smell of the classroom was sometimes very overwhelming, different animals, their food, their waste, and not to mention all of the filthy teenagers covering in overflowing hormones.

Mr. Hanley was on the outside of the group when it came to other teachers. He probably preferred it that way. As a highly exuberant and excitable individual, generally charismatic with students, outspoken, and totally in your face he was certainly not well liked by his peers. Does this sound like the average teacher? Later I learned he also did not get along with the administrators or the principle. Some kids absolutely loved his class because there was not a lot of homework; he prepped students for tests extensively, and did lots of exciting demonstrations in the class to solidify important principles. Explosions, potato guns, arcing electricity, and movies were a common occurrence in his class.

His class was not straight forward because he was not teaching us biology… he was teaching us about just biology. He was using his biology class to help us think critically about life and to question societal norms. After my time as a student in his class I continued to work as his aide because I admired him, and wanted the easy credits. It was not as easy as I thought. It was not hard work, but it was a great responsibility to feed animals and clean their cages everyday. When Mr. Hanley accepted my friend David and I as his aides I chose to care for the reptiles rather than the mammals because Mr. Hanley always said that mammals were filthy. His influence over me at this time was already evident. I played mother to the relatively clean and efficient reptiles for two years, while David was scraping up piles of mammal dung and urine. Hanley was right, reptiles are cleaner, but what he was really telling me was that human mammals were filthy.

After high school I stayed in contact with Mr. Hanley because I thought he was a powerful thinker and a real character to boot. The fall after my graduation form high school I went to see Mr. Hanley to chat and to catch up a bit. He said hi and in usual Hanley fashion he seemed almost frantic, typing on the keyboard quickly here, stuffing something in his pocket there, walking form corner to corner in the classroom moving items, feeding and animal and talking to me the whole time.

He turned and made eye contact for a short moment and said, “Walk with me, I have some stuff to do.” I followed him out of the classroom, around the corner to the right, down a dark hallway, and through the teachers lounge to an enclosed garden area. He spilled out some explanation about the plants being prehistoric and how he planted them right under the teacher’s nose because of the perfect environment of the enclosed area.

After he finished I followed him out the gate to the trash collection area behind the cafeteria. He stopped his explanation in the middle of a sentence, looked me in the face and said, “What day of the week is it?” I replied, “Thursday.” He said, mostly under his breath, “Sandwich day.” He promptly walked the short distance across the lot to a 3 yard dumpster and half hung over the side. He moved a couple of bags around and ripped one large black plastic bag open. “Payday!” he exclaimed. I heard the crinkling of stiff plastic packages as he pulled 3 prepackaged sandwiches out of the bag and handed them backwards to me. Trying to be helpful I received, and held them gingerly, thinking about how dirty they must be. He took three more out and turned to back to the classroom.

As we walked he took the other sandwiches from me, opened one packages and started taking large bites out of the mixed meat hoagie, all the while still talking about prehistoric plants. Just before we reached the dark hallway again he abruptly stopped and said, “I am so rude. Would you like a sandwich?” He held out the one of the packages, while cradling the other 5 in his left arm. I reached out to take it because it was a gift from someone that I respected, but intended to carry it around and through it away after I got home. With my right hand still grasping the sandwich, face to face with me he must have seen something in my posture or eyes that told him exactly what I was thinking. A man like Hanley must have seen it a million times.

He said, “You see the school regulations say that the cafeteria workers must throw away any food that has an abnormal package. They put them all in a large black trash bag and through them out at the end of the day. The bag is on top of the pile, separated from the rest of the trash by another bag, and they are still prepackaged, just abnormally. I don’t know many people who would go looking through the trash for them, but they are quite good.” What he was really saying to me was, “Don’t be like all those other small thinkers who just say everything inside a trash can is filthy, chewed up, sticky waste. The sandwiches are fine, there is nothing wrong with them, but they are cast aside because of some wasteful government regulation. If you don’t eat it then you cannot see past the bull crap and you are just like the morons that make up the school administration.”

As all of the implications raced through my mind I hesitantly opened the package and exposed the contents. I was hungry. I took my first bite, and he smiled, turned, and walked back to the classroom with me close behind.

I ate that sandwich and it changed the way I looked at the world forever. It tasted sooo good. It tasted like freedom!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bum Rush!

This event occured in early 2002
I was on my way home from work during tax season late at night... about 11pm. I stopped at a gas station downtown. Bakersfield does not have a lot of homeless, but we live in the valley where meth was invented. So while we do not have a lot of unkept masses miandering around infront of the local quikee mart, we do have a lot of generally cracked out individual cleaning their mobile homes in the middle of the night, and twitching about to and fro in public spaces.

I pulled up the a very large gassing station downtown... I think it has something like 22 pumps. There were maybe 3 other cars gasing up. This particular station did not take credit cards so I got out of my car with a 20 dollar bill in my hand and made a b-line towards the store where you pay. I had a 20 in my hand a pocket with about $200 in it, and a center console full of shiny change.

I saw the young gentleman as I was pulling up. He was making a request of the patron at the pump accross from me. He looked like he was in his early 20's, clearly was not there to get gas, and was slightly dirty. With a ciggy hanging out of the corner of his mouth he counted the change he just received and stuffed down into his cargo pants. As I was making my way accross the expansive parking lot to pay for my gas with a $20 in my hand the young man approached me.

As he came to within 3 feet of me I recognized him. I knew him but I did not know where I knew him from. I am pretty sure it was high school, but could not really place him. The dialogue that ensued went a little something like this.
Bum: "Hey can you spare some change?"
Richard: "I don't have and change, how much do you need?"
I had a couple singles in my back pocket that I was willing to give him if he seemed nice enough. Then a funny thing happened.... I had the hand with the $20 in it held about stomach level in front of me. He looked down at it then looked up at me, smiled what I can only describe as a slightly evil smug smile.
Bum: "How about $20...", then took a step closer to me, one eye squinting a little bit from the smoke in the corner of his mouth.

I started to chuckle a little bit. I had 5 inches and at least 30 pounds on this guy. Plus I could clearly beat this guy to bloody pulp and break all of his bones if I needed to. I was not scared at all, I was actually very amused by his very weak attempt at intimidation and robbery. That is why I chuckled. I did not laugh in his face, I was still trying to show him a little respect. I don't ever try to treat anyone as less than human. But now I was feeling a little insulted. He didn't even give the robbery an honest try.

I had never really stopped moving forward, and since this exchange occured in the matter of a few seconds I was able to keep my momentum and just slightly turn my body and move past him. I made my way to the store, paid for the gas, and went back to fuel up.

I stood there for about 4 minutes while the nozzle automatically shot about $20 worth of gas into my tank. As I stood their waiting I notice that the kid had moved to a location in the darkness about 20 yards behind the pump I was standing at. He was smoking and I could see the cherry of his cigarette glow every 20 seconds or so. I did not pay any attention to him and started to think about the hurmerous encounter from a few minutes ago.... Did he really think that would work. Who knows what goes on in the minds of meth heads? Really!?

As the pump snapped the automatic lock off, and I reached for the nozzle to replace it and get on my way I heard rapid footsteps. I looked up just as the young man was coming around the gas pump, he threw what I can only describe as one of the weakest strikes I have ever encoutered from an adult . He hit me in right cheek and did no damage. I was shocked of course by this unprovoked attack, and just stood there for about 30 seconds completely stunned while I watched him turn and run away. As he got to the main street and crossed it without looking ,a car skidded to a stop half sideways barely missing the young man.

The 40 something mexican patron accross the lane from me started laughing. I looked at him standing next to SUV half bent over in laughter... I said, "Did you see that?" He repleid between his laughter, "You got punked homes!" I wanted to beat him down right then. What kind of adult acts like that. This was a potentially dangerous situation, any real adult would have recognized that and acted appropriately.

I can only remember thinking that I should have beat the kid down, called the police, jumped in my car and torn off after him. What did I do? I just got back in my car, still very shocked, and as the anger started to set in I drove home. My wife had the nerve to get angry at me for letting him get that close to me. "What if he had a knife or something?"

1 week later I was driving through downtown and saw him walking down the street......