I'm leaving the bar around eight, Molly Malone's faux Irish pub, after a hard day of work and a thin layer of sweat on my brow. I'm crossing the street to get over to Common Grounds, the little freak scene/law school hangout, with the girls in pig-tails and Ramones t-shirts (oh those girls!) for a well-earned cup of strong pre-bedtime coffee, caffeinated, of course.
Half-way across the street (I did violate a red no-walk light), this pick-up truck with two boys in it rolls by and this oh-so Virginia voice wafts out saying something, "Watch where you're walking."
I immediately yell back "Go back to the fucking hills, motherfucker." Or something like that. Brake lights come on. Red. Danger.
I begin to walk a little faster towards the coffeehouse. Not running. Running is chickenshit. Walking fast abides by the rules. The rules also say, "Avoid a fight with two rednecks in a truck, if all you have for a weapon is a hardcover copy of 'The Corrections.'" Which is buried in a shoulder bag. With two plastic snaps. I'd never get the book out of its holster before they're on me, wailing away, kicking out their everlasting frustration at the moral ambiguity of urban culture into my ribcage. So I walk fast.
I glide into the coffeehouse and make for the bathrooms in the back. Two uni-sex bathrooms. The first door is locked. Figures. I get the second door open enough to hear a startled grunt - there's a pair of empty brown canvas pants on the floor. The door hits the pants, moves them a few feet in. That's all I see. I close the door quickly. "Someone is pantsless in there," I think, not thinking. "Ewwww." And then: "Who doesn't lock the fucking door?" Obviously, judging from my involuntary actions, I guess I'd rather get pounded by barely mustached, baseball-capped youth than face some naked homeless guy in a public restroom. Or some arty couple having sex.
I wait anxiously for awhile, but the coffehouse seems like home base. I am safe. There is something about pretentious alternative culture that freaks these guys out, just as I would not chase them into a rodeo. The moment passes. I get a cup of Ethiopian coffee. I am sweating through my classic, silly navy blazer. It is time to go home.