Saturday, November 8, 2008

from zero-to-A-Hole in 2 seconds

Sometimes I surprise myself at the things that come out of my mouth.

In Savannah (How Crazy Is This?), 800 miles from home, my bank has a branch with a nice new ATM.

Did you know that new ATM's let you deposit cash right in the machine? No slips, no envelopes? Very disconcerting. That's one receipt you won't see me lose track of. But, yeah, one at a time, I was feeding $100 bills in there, to be piped directly into my account.

I was carrying a large sum of money... well, large for me, anyhow.

You can see where this is going... naturally, I'm on high alert. I'm in public, on a sidewalk, at night, stuffing loose $100 bills in a goddam ATM. I look around, see nothing to set off my apparently unreliable alarms. Rustle, rustle rustle, the Benjamins get sucked into the machine and my blood pressure rises.
"Sir, can I ask you a question?"

I look- scrawny, well-dressed 30ish white guy. Banana Republic. WASP. No problem. He's outside my 10-foot ATM-on-the-sidewalk bubble. Just.
Afterthought: Dude's got no visible pupils. I didn't actually see that, it was just an impression.
He's going to either attempt to mug me, or ask for money. Neither of which is is a positive thing.

I'm funny about money. I decide that if the guy's going to do something dumb, I will throw his ass into traffic. I can do this, I was a bouncer; throwing people is safer than dragging them, and easier, too.
Can I really contemplate sending some desperate schmuck into a bad place? I'm not Charles Bronson. I would have horrific guilt. But this is money that my wife needs to run the house. We really need it. Yes, I can see this man hurt bad, God help me.
Being pretty smaht, I see a compromise: without bluffing, I can answer his question honestly, and maybe stave off disaster. Or, if he's just an idiot brand-new crackhead, I can deter him without doing greivous injury to himself or to my psyche.

I'm mean looking. I know this. People love to tell me that, 'cus I'm not a mean guy. I frown when I concentrate. I hunch over a bit. So, I give the guy a deadpan look, and a quiet response. "Not right now. Wait. "

45 seconds later, the money's in the machine. I've got cabfare in my wallet and little else. I am centered, and the guy politely waited. Also, another guy got in line behind me, and the dude waiting for me to acknowlege him? He starts a spiel that I've heard a million times at a hundred T stations back home as a college kid commuting into Boston. I'm out of gas, blah blah, blah.
I finish my transaction, scan the reciept, and give a downright murderous look at the ATM. Don't mess with me, machine.

It worked better on the junkie, but that ATM didn't give me a line of shit, either, so I'm saying that I must have had my mojo working.

Quarare: Why don't I own any handguns? I'm pro gun, certainly. Second Amendment is my friend and all.
Second Question, and one requiring answers: For a man who spends a lot of time away from home, and can't carry a handgun to work, what is the best option for gun safety? A nice heavy safe, where a weapon can sit unmolested for months, or a nice heavy safe belonging to a responsible gun-owning friend. Bearing in mind that Mrs. Paul The Pirate is a foreigner... she's qualified, has owned several handguns, but is not getting a permit and has no interest in guns anymore, herself having gone armed as part of her former work in her home country. Therefore, any firearm in the house would be a white elephant for 200+days a year.



Mike! said...

Im a parole officer in NYC. For the most part I work alone. I will run away evade anything I can and I am proud of it. Guns offer a perminant soultion to a temporary problem. Why would you even consider a gun when you handle it matsterfuly with a scowl?

Mike! said...

Also, say you plunk that guy in a 100% justifyed shoot. Would you then trade that ATM depost to never have a dead dumb crakhead notch on your belt? Also for every justifyed shoot how many good people become "bad" drinking, road rage and suicide? Way more cops die from thier own guns then from perps.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Nah, I don't think I could shoot somebody over money. I'm honest with myself. My ass would have to be in serious danger to contemplate doing that to myself and someone else. I'm the type to quietly go to ruin over guilt.
Even so, it makes me think. I didn't need to be armed in that situation, but home invasion is the one scenario where I would be comforted by having a weapon at hand. I need to explain myself better. Thanks for the insight!