Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wiggity wiggity wack

Weird episode at the cafe at the end of the universe yesterday, y'all. Once I'd signed off of work for the day, I took the kid to pick up some groceries and then to stop at the cafe for a treat. We were the only two customers in the place, which is pretty unusual, and the Disaffected Yute behind the counter was one of the regular staffers, with whom I have previously had zero problems. So I buy Kid Gleemonex a cookie (which I will eat 80% of -- this is my kid, after all, and she'll get heavily into sugar soooon enough -- I don't have to let her start now). She chooses us a table while I wait for my coffee.

The Disaffected Yute ponders a moment, then says, "Can I ask you a question?"

I say, "Ahhh ... sure," cause I'm thinking "Great, he's gonna try to sell me something, or proposition me or something weird that I'm not gonna like."

He goes, "Do you have a problem with authority?"

My mental response: "What the fuck?" (Meanwhile he's, like, holding my coffee hostage until I answer.)

My verbal response: "Not ... really, no. I'm not a fan of running into brick walls with my face."

Disaffected Yute: "Cause *I* do. I definitely do. I don't LIKE it, for one thing." And he's starting to get kind of agitated.

So I'm starting to get a hinky feeling -- maybe I've read too much of that "Gift of Fear" stuff, but still. Hinky.

I take my coffee and try to edge away, saying "Yeah, well -- there are usually ways around stuff that don't affect you that negatively," or something like that. My heart is really starting to beat jerkily, I'm getting seriously nervous.

He says with an air of resolve, "I'm gonna DO it."

I'm all, "Uh huh, ok ..." and I go to sit with my kid and my coffee. He's got his back to me now, fidgeting with stuff behind the counter, and my head fills with thoughts of various workplace shootings and whatnot and how this Disaffected Yute with the Problem With Authority might be about to start his killin' spree with the bourgeois bitch with the toddler and the iPhone (I had taken it out of my pocket with the half-formed idea of dialling 911 -- ridiculous? maybe ...). He starts striding back and forth into the storeroom and clanging stuff together, and I tell Kid Gleemonex, "We are going now. Come with mommy." She looks straight at me and -- instead of protesting and screaming NO and clinging to the chair like she normally would if I tried to cut her off after one bite of cookie -- she said "OK, mommy," and hopped down from the chair and we practically ran out of there.

He meets me at the door (good thing he didn't block my way or I woulda clotheslined him) and says, "Is anything wrong?" and I'm all, "Nope, just got a text, my husband's going to be home in just a second, gotta run!" And seriously, we did -- or I did, carrrying the groceries and the toddler, for the four or so blocks home in some ferocious wind, my heart just pounding and my pits all sweaty.

Took me an hour to come down from that, and goddamn did I feel ridiculous after, but -- that was a primal, unstoppable response to perceived (possible) threat on my part, and I could not have shut it down if you all collectively had sat on me, the entire Internets.

Weird, huh?

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Blogger bonnjill said...

Not weird at all. That was you taking in all the conscious and subconscious signals that something wasn't right. There's a good book out there by a security expert called The Gift of Fear ( that you might want to check out. The author claims "...victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. They may distrust the fear, or it may impel them to some action that saves their lives." Good for you for reacting to your fear. Maybe it was rational, maybe it wasn't, but don't ever doubt it!

10:27 PM  
Blogger Guinness74 said...

I'm more interested in whether or not Disaffected Yute was on the news this morning, or if, by chance he was still working at said coffee shop today? I think you did the right best it was particularly bad customer service, at worst it was terroristic threatening.

I wouldn't feel bad about it though. If you thought you reacted strangely, it was only in response to a truly weird situation.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Panda!!!! said...

OMG! What did he do? I hope it was something ludicrous like pouring flour all over the floor and not cleaning it up. Or shoving cookie bits in the latte machine.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

bonnjill: That's why I guess I don't really feel stupid for wigging out -- I'd rather look like a dumbass to myself and some coffee-shop kid than wind up on the news, you know?

Guinness: preeecisely. So far, no news, and I'm assuming this was just ... weird. But I'm going to take a break from that place for a couple of weeks.

Panda: That's what I was hoping, and what I assume to be the case. :-)

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Amanda O'Brien said...


Follow your gut. Always.

And good for that little coaster-utilizing girl of yours. You're both smart.

Da yute was a fuhreak.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, not even remotely weird. that guy was acting crazy, I'm glad you left. jesus!

9:24 PM  
Blogger alyce said...

Only weird thing in this story is that the Kid is old enough to be talking to you. That broke my brain.

(my word identification is hoatin which seems like ho-hatin' because I do, in fact, hate the player and the game and his damn ho, too)

8:58 PM  

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