Sitting down. WI-FI hot spot. Calling someone on Skype. Focused on the computer screen. Blindside, someone bumps me hard to my right, nearly knocking me off my chair. Drunk. At 7 PM. He gives a big stupid smile and thumbs up into my web camera. I react, ramming my shoulder into him, knocking him back and out of the way.
"What the fuck are you thinking dude?!"
He staggers away affably, having appeared in someone's video screen he believes. Now they'll know who he is ... Drunk, and an idiot, but no villain.
My webcam was not on.
His friend on the other hand ... has different intentions.
He sits down across me. His demeanor is Christopher Waltz playing the Nazi Jew Hunter in Inglorious Basterds. The air shivers in the vibration of his villainous German accent. "That was not okay," he informs me, steepling his fingers together, wriggling them ever so slightly, like a cat taking his time, about to leap onto a wounded mouse. He's drunk.
|the Jew Hunter|
Where ever they are, they don't seem to paying much attention to us. I quickly size him up.
"Why are you sitting across from me?" I ask.
"It's a free place, I can sit where I want," the Jew Hunter challenges me. His super cool demeanor might inspire fear in an observer, but being in his midst, his manner was ever slightly undermined by the palpable leaking of his nefarious intentions.
Anger swells in me. Ego. Territorial invasion. Fighting intentions from another male. I could jump up and pummel him. First to act, huge advantage. Adrenaline flows in anticipation.
Awareness. Of anger, of the feeling. A deep breath, never taking my eyes off him. I have choice in how to react. Will I let this obviously unhappy, egoic man egg me into a physical fight? Shall I strengthen our egos with my own lack of awareness, this cancerous sense of self that needs continuous feeding.
Consciousness flows. A sense of peace envelops me, yet a readiness.
"Where are you from," I ask for some reason.
"Over the border."
A beat. He challenges me again. "You're from here, right?"
Obviously I am Czech. A sarcastic answer leads down the wrong road.
"No, I'm from America."
I look across at him, trying to see into him, past his unhappy form. We stare at each other for thirty seconds; might be a world record for males without fists flying. Perhaps what keeps us apart, aside of the table between us, is that there is peace within my stare. For a brief moment the Jew Hunter becomes unsettled.
"Don't look at me," he warns.
"You just sat down at my table, while I was working, in an empty restaurant, and threatened me after your friend crashed into me," I reply with surprising calm. Just stating a fact.
"I do what I want, right?"
I don't respond for a good fifteen seconds. He won't back down. His ego needs is starved. It needs action one way or another.
Calmly, I put my computer into my backpack. "I'm going to leave. You can have the table," I inform him. The Jew Hunter can't mask his smile, his ego has been momentarily satisfied, victorious, at least until next time its insatiable appetite needs feeding.
I get up, and walk towards the door, his form never leaving my site. As I edge closer to the exit, my ego rears it's head, having thought of a sharp remark. I breath into it, and exit the door, consciousness prevailing.
In deep peace, I walk down the street.