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    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Mint Cafe and Mac's, and a Con

    While I was busy at the office all weekend, I did take time to have dinner. I like to think that since I have to eat anyway, I ought to at least enjoy that even when I am busy. Gina suggested the Mint Cafe at Coventry. It was my first time there, and it was pretty good. We both ordered Thai basil dishes; she had the pasta, I had the beef. Overall, my dinner was tasty, but I might have liked a little more basil and a little less onion. The beef was not overcooked. And we had the "golden bags" appetizer and jasmine & lime to drink. We got out of there for $29 plus tip, which I think is a very nice price any night, but especially Saturday.

    We walked up the street to Mac's Paperbacks to work off a little of the food. We walked in, and went to the magazine rack on the left wall just inside past the steps. We were standing there browsing through magazines when a man walked in the front door, approached us, and started talking to us.

    "'Scuse me, but I was wondering if you could help me." I didn't really look at him, but he was holding a roll of money in his hand. "My wife and I got a flat tire, and I was wondering if you could help..." Not wanting to be bothered, and looking into the magazine I was holding, I said what I always say, "I have nothing for you." And he moved along to some other customers standing about six steps away, to make the same pitch.

    That's when Gina said to me that it was the same guy as last time. What? Oh yeah, last weekend, at Borders at Severence.

    * * *

    Labor Day weekend, Gina and I went to Borders at Severance. We had just parked the car and were walking toward Borders when this grubby looking man, holding a roll of money in hand, starting walking toward us in the parking lot.

    "Sir! Sir! Can I ask you something?"

    "I have nothing for you."

    "Hey, what makes you think I was going to ask you for money?"

    "I have nothing for you, now move along."

    By now he was chasing us, and getting into our personal space.

    "Hey all I was going to do was ask you what time it is. But you white people don't have the time for a black man like me."

    That really pissed me off. We went into Borders, and he didn't follow us. Once we were inside, I analyzed out loud whether I had jumped to a conclusion or not, and whether race was a part of it. Gina and I agreed that if all he wanted was the time, then all he had to do was ask, not ask whether he could ask us something -- you don't say that if all you want is the time. As for him being black, I treated him no differently than any other stranger who approaches me in a parking lot, wanting money. Still, the whole thing bugged me, but after a day or so, I forgot about it.

    * * *
    From the magazine rack I look over at the three women listening to his story. I looked his way and said, "Didn't I hear you telling that same story over at Borders last week? Yeah, seems like you are really unlucky."

    The woman, who did appear skeptical, now dismissed his pleas. And then he walked up behind me.

    "Why don't you mind your own fuckin' business? Why don't you and your wife here mind your fucking business and let me--"

    Turning around to face him, I said, "You made it my business when you came in here and started harassing me and the other customers. And don't you use that language in front of her. This place is a business, and you have no business coming in here--"

    "Oh fuck that, you should just mind your own fuckin' business," and he started to turn and head for the door.

    I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him right back. I looked him in the eyes. He didn't seem used to being confronted this way. I said to him "You remember my face? I saw you last week doing the same thing. And here you are again. So remember my face. Don't you ever approach me again asking for anything. And don't let me catch you in here again. Now get out of here."

    He said "What the fuck are you doing touching me? Touch me again! Yeah, you touch me again and you see what happens."

    Without breaking eye contact, I tap him on the same shoulder. "Get out now."

    He glared at me, then he turned and walked out.

    The man behind the counter at Mac's -- he didn't say a word. He didn't even look up. I know he's got a voice on him because he told that King Arthur story at that reading we all went to a few weeks ago.

    A few minutes later, I went up to make my purchase. Nothing was said about the incident, nothing to even acknowledge it. And that's fine.

    Comments on "Mint Cafe and Mac's, and a Con"

     

    Blogger Kristen said ... (8:37 AM, September 11, 2006) : 

    My problem with working downtown and all is I tend to ignore anyone speaking to me. A few weeks ago I was on the escalator going down to the train. Some kid on the opposite side was like, "Hey miss, hey miss." I ignored him. Something in me keeps strong to the don't talk to strangers bit my parents taught me. Well he keeps it up despite the fact that we're literally going opposite ways and he's like 10 years younger than me. When I don't respond he says, "Fuck you then you white bitch." I had to laugh. It's like, was I suppsed to make a love connection on the escalator with him? Climb across to his side so we could "hook up"? Plus, I don't see what me being white has to do with me being a bitch. Yes, I'm both, but I don't see how they're connected.

     

    Blogger Brian Kornell said ... (9:28 AM, September 11, 2006) : 

    Arthur should have started performing a section of his novel/play and the guy would have taken off.

     

    Blogger Mrs. Bebout said ... (9:29 AM, September 11, 2006) : 

    Saturday night dinner at Mint Cafe: $29

    Paperback books: $18.95

    The extra tap on the same shoulder: priceless

     

    Blogger Gina Ventre said ... (9:45 AM, September 11, 2006) : 

    I was thinking the same thing about his Arthur dramedy but alas, he remained silent.

    I remember the Arthur guy having a white beard with yellow stains in it but I think he is now beardless.

     

    Blogger anne said ... (10:29 AM, September 11, 2006) : 

    Maybe Arthur took in the incident and memorized it to weave it into one of his wonderful stories. He's going to have a television show, you know.

    This would be a perfect sequence for AAARRRRTHHHUUUUUUUr, and AAAAGGGRAVAAAIIINNNe.

     

    Blogger melcarrel said ... (10:30 PM, September 11, 2006) : 

    I've had the same thing happen to me as what has happened to Kristen. Calling me a bitch for not addressing you won't get me to respond any sooner I'm afraid.

    I bet the guy working there was too scared to say anything. I would've freaked out if I was there. (I just don't deal well with confrontation)

     

    Blogger Kate Anne said ... (4:51 PM, September 16, 2006) : 

    Of course, somebody could be asking for your attention because you dropped something. That has happened to me.

     

    Blogger Kate Anne said ... (4:53 PM, September 16, 2006) : 

    PS -- Audient -- you could have been stabbed! Take care of yourself! I can hear Uncle David now! Even a pipsqueak can have a knife in his pocket!

     

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