Thursday, May 6, 2010

I almost feel as if I’m being tested, and I have reason to believe I’m failing miserably; or passing with flying colors. I haven’t yet made up my mind about it. What I have experienced the last 24 hours make me sympathize with a great percentage of those behinds bars… or six-foot under. A carnival man, a Subway guy, and two soccer players… the people who could have kicked my ass had they taken the initiative. It seems to me that my attitude places me in danger but at the same time spares me. It is a paradox if I have any idea what one is.

Guy driving a trailer through a park makes several maneuvers in a very tight space. He’s setting up for the weekend carnival but nobody is guiding him or the people on the ground. My soccer mates move aside to make way for the truck but nobody has any idea which way he’s headed. I simply stand there and watch him bring his big truck less than four feet away from me. I stare at him and mouth something. No use saying it loudly as he can’t hear me over his engine: “God-damnnnnn….”

I enter one of three Subways I visit every weekday morning. At first I’m relieved to see a new face, because it means I won’t have to deal with the Subway guy who talks too damn much. My joy lasts only a few seconds, as he comes through the doorway and starts talking to me. Today he had a special way of irritating me… he started telling me that his boss had gotten mad at him because he charged me for a small drink, not the medium-sized drink I actually took. I had no intention of stealing from him, or even confusing him. Thinking he was saying those things in an “It’s all right, though” tone, I told him that if his boss was bitching about losing a few cents to me, he could let him know I could take my business elsewhere. Then he said, “It’s fine, just don’t do it again.”

To me that sounded as if he was placing the blame on me. Since I had taken the cup before he had even taken my debit card, I was under the impression he would bill me for it whether or not I said “I’m taking a medium-sized drink.” But he was busy talking to another customer about how he could go about getting the welfare office to help him pay his bills, so maybe he didn’t realize I was taking a medium-sized cup. In any case, I felt that would have been his fault, and I came close to mentioning to him this morning my recollection of yesterday’s events detail by detail. However, I simply left it at “It was your responsibility to charge me for it.” Of course, his last words were, “It’s alright, just don’t do it again.” I guess I’m glad I didn’t respond with, “Do what, motherfucker?” By that I mean that I have made over 300 visits to Subway and done exactly the same damn thing and I know I’m doing nothing wrong, as I expect them to charge me for it, and they always do… or so I thought.

Today, while playing soccer, one of my teammates kicked the ball out of the park and didn’t had the courtesy to go get it. I don’t know what came over me, but I began telling him to go get it, not to abandon it as he had done with my ball a few months ago. He responded with “What? I can’t hear you.” I said the same thing but in a louder, coarser tone, and this brought us as close to a fight as I have been in months, or even years.

Less than 30 minutes later a thuggish player on the opposing team did a dirty tackle on me, but I avoided it and landed on his leg. Rather than keeping my mouth shut, I told him he should know better than trying that on me, and that next time it would be worse for him. Again, another confrontation where I find myself only a word and a swing away from giving or receiving a good ass-kicking.

I’m actually typing this at my parents’ house, and so I may be hasty in writing about today’s events when the night is not over. I still have a 20 minute drive home and anything can happen. Perhaps I would be very wise to place my tail between my leg and look down rather than face every situation with a vicious face.

I wonder if this is what they call a mid-life crisis.

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