I had to make a run to the grocery store today to pick up a few things for next week – typical stuff: chicken breast, sweet potatoes, egg whites, Monsters, etc. I figured while I was there, I would pick up a couple of things for my daughter, as well, because she eats like a typical fifteen-year-old. I'm a good dad like that.
I’m browsing the aisles in my designer mask — that is useless other than collecting germs when I touch it every time it falls below my nose, when I put it on, when I take it off, etc., but I digress — when I pass a guy that I hear under his breath say, “You’re going the wrong way, dumbass.”
I stopped, thinking my mask had somehow made me hear him incorrectly and asked, "What did you say?" He says, "you're going the WRONG way." I looked around, perplexed, and asked him what exactly he meant. He scoffed and said that the arrows point THIS way, and pointed the opposite direction that I was pushing my cart.
It was then that I realized there were arrows on the floor, apparently to move "traffic" in only one direction. I apologized and told the guy this was the first I had heard of this, and that I didn't notice the arrows on the floor. I also made it clear that I didn't appreciate his tone. He apologized, and we went on our separate ways.
My mind sometimes wanders when I am grocery shopping (or driving or shitting, etc.). I kept thinking about the confrontation and wondered what it would be like if I had responded to him, not like we were standing in front of each other, but instead like we were interacting on social media. The thought was so compelling that I decided that the rest of the day, I was going to respond to people like the responses I receive on the internet to see what happens. I mean, this quarantine has made for dull days, anyway, so why not do a bit of a social experiment for fun, right?
I am driving home from the store looking for my first victim when I pull up to a red light. A skinny — though relatively well-built — guy in his early thirties is jogging to the corner, and he has to stop next to me to wait to use the crosswalk. I roll down my window, and with him only about ten feet away, I yell at him, "KEEP TAKING THOSE ROIDS YOU LOSER!" He looks at me while I continue yelling, "DO YOU WORKOUT BECAUSE YOUR DICK IS SMALL OR DO THE STEROIDS MAKE YOUR DICK SMALL?" He walks up to my window and, without saying a word, punches me in the face through my open window. The light turns green; I drive off.
Later in the day, I have to do my one-hour walk like I do almost every day. I am standing outside of my home, getting my FitBit set to track my HR during the walk, and a couple walks by. They were probably in their late 20s. She is attractive and either Puerto Rican or Hispanic (I'm white; how the hell do I know?) He has an athletic build but certainly not overly muscular. He is one of those guys you don't want your girlfriend hanging out with because he would likely bang her.
As they pass by, I say, "DAYUM, dat ass is BANGIN'. Digits?" (In retrospect, I understand that "digits" is an old-man term, but I couldn't come up with anything cooler at the time). I didn't say it as loud as I did to the jogger, so I figured this would keep me from getting punched in the face. It didn't. This experiment, so far, is not going terribly well.
I finish my walk, get home, take a shower, and need to see if my motorcycle will start because I've had the battery on a tender. I am out on the same sidewalk that I got punched in the face only hours before, and I notice a guy approaching me walking his dog. He is wearing a Trump hat, a t-shirt with a confederate flag, and a rub of Copenhagen in his lip. I didn't see the rub at first, but I did see the tobacco spit on his lip, and he either didn't know it was there or just didn't fucking care. Either way, this was not going to go well.
His dog takes a piss on a tree within earshot of me sitting on my bike. I tell him he looks like one of those gun-loving, snowflake-hating, bigots that won't shop at Target because they have transgender bathrooms. He stands there almost dumbfounded, trying to process what I just said. When it registers that, in fact, this is what I just said to him, he slowly walks over to me, and I think you know what I said to him at that point:
I sighed and told him, “Just get it over with; punch me in the face.”
The experiment was no longer fun. I came to the conclusion that you can’t speak to people face-to-face like you can on social media. Now, if I could just get other people to try this experiment themselves… Just Sayin’.