I walked into Starbucks this morning, got into line, the reached into my pocket for some money. As I did so, I took a half step back with my left foot so I could turn to the side and count my bills. When I did so, I stepped on something...and was surprised to realize someone had come in, and was standing right behind me, and I had stepped on his steel toed boot.
" Oh jeeze, pardon me", I apologized and turned around to see a very surly looking, saved head, five foot-six, construction worker standing there with a scowl on his face.
" Fucking idiots !" he muttered, no so under-his-breath.
" Pardon me ?", I though perhaps I had misheard.
" You heard exactly what I said " he growled.
I was stunned, this had to be a joke, " Are you serious ?"
" Yeah, I'm serious", and the little fucker started stepping towards me.
I was still in disbelief, " What are you talking about ? You snuck right up behind.."
" Don't give me that bullshit, I came in right behind you...YOU SAW MEEE !!!", now he was foaming at the mouth.
The first thing I thought was 'this is what is must be like for other people when I flip out', the second thing was ' this is going to be a really entertaining fist fight'.
I turned to him, " You're out of your fucking mind. I didn't see shit and what the fuck, you have boots on anyway.." I was starting to stammer and getting fired up expecting that the next 10 second were going to determine whether or not I was going to spend the next 4 hours at the police station.
The think that may have saved the situation was that I could see his posture start to change. Having been on his end of things once or twice i realize that the initial freakout is sometimes tempered when you realize that the other person might be as retarded as you. He didn't exactly back off, but my reaction at least stopped him in his tracks.
I took a breath and said, " You know what...just go ahead of me and get your coffee."
" No, I don't trust you ", he said.
" Just get your coffee", I've made the committment to try and be a better person and avoid confrontation. And I gotta figure that whatever problems this guy has have almost nothing to do with me or his toe. " If I'm going to do anything its going to be right here to your face, not when your back is turned."
We stood there toe to toe for a second.
I gave him every option, " How do you want this to play out ? Where do you want this to go ?"
" Fine !", he walked past me and up to the counter, " Give me a tall coffee."
" HA !, that's rich.", well I said I was TRYING to be a better person...sometimes I just can't help myself, " TALL coffee ? How that for irony ?"
He grabbed his coffee and out the door he went.