It's been said that there are two types of people in the world. (Those that divide the world into two types of people, and those who don't.)
However, I'm of the mind that there are three types of people in the world: Those that when an incident happens, stop, stand, and stare; those that when an incident happens, react; and those that when an incident happens, were ready for it.
Saturday early evening, Rutger, his girlfriend Glory, my wife and I went to see the movie, The Watchmen. Fantastic movie. I'll tell you more about it in my subsequent post. Before the movie, we went out to dinner at Bertucci's, a local chain of very good quality Italian food.
We were almost done with dinner and discussing the check when an "incident" began to manifest itself across the restaurant from us. At one booth, two patrons seemed to be disgruntled with some matter in regards to their meal. The waitress seemed to be trying to keep them calm, yet she herself was visibly irrate. In short order, multiple waiters came to the table in addition to the manager. (No pun intended.) The patrons were two black females. One was more or less nondescript. The other, however, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, a baseball cap, and sunglasses. Upon gazing at her, most people would immediately question whether or not this was a woman at all.
Suddenly, these two women were on their feet and raising their voices. The waitress, a petite black girl was being physically restrained by another waiter who was drawing her away from the patrons. The manager was interposing himself from what seemed to be one second away from a full-fledged brawl.
The two black women began publicly shouting: "F---, you n----- bitch! We ain't paying fo' nuthin', you f-ing black n-----!" Etc, etc, ad nauseum.
Something else was said, something I could not hear from my seat, but suddenly, the waiters and manager made a hasty retreat from the table as Ms. Incognito strode into the middle of the restaurant and began emptying her large pocket book, clearly looking for something.
Here's where you become one of the three types of people in the world. What do you do next?
In my entire life, I've never willingly sat on the inside of a booth. Moreover, any time my wife and I eat out, I make sure I'm facing the door. (It's sort of an old West superstition.) This time, however, I've stuck myself on the inside of our booth.
I start patting my wife's leg with increasing intensity, "Get up... get up... get up... GET UP NOW!!!" She let me free and I bolted up and out toward the woman, carefully watching her next move. It was clear to me that she was going for a ...something and I'd be damned if I was going to be sitting in a booth when she found it. I stepped around outside of her peripheral vision and watched her carefully.
After a moment, she seemed to change her mind about whatever it was she thought she was going to do. The waiters and manager returned and the argument resumed, with many shouting for her to "just leave" as she responded with ample usage of the "N word".
Shortly after, she and her obnoxious friend did leave. They were escorted to the door and the crowd remained there at the front for a while. Our waiter came over and apologized profusely, and explained that the same duo had been in four times in the last four weeks, causing trouble, and looking for reasons why they weren't going to pay their bill. This time, when they swore at the waitress and began berating her, the waitress gave them some words back.
At this point, Glory exclaims, "Hey, someone just threw a punch!" We looked up, and it seemed that a scuffle was breakout out outside. I ran to the door and went out side. The waiters were pulling the manager back inside the building. I asked him if he had been hit and he said that there were two guys outside with the woman and one of them threw a punch at him.
I went outside. The guys had apparently ran, but the women were still loitering around. I stepped over to them and informed them in no uncertain terms my opinion of their behavior. I also invited them to return to whatever hole they had crawled out of and to stop causing problems for decent people. The women started to back away, when, at this point, four cruisers pulled up behind them.
To conclude, the police found cause to arrest both women as well as the two men they found lurking in the parking lot. I gave them my name and number as a witness to the incident and soon after, we headed over to the movie theatre.
Now, here's my point. Our mysterious woman had, in point of fact, threatened to shoot every one of the waiters. That's when she jumped up and started emptying her pocketbook. I didn't hear her stay it, but it seemed clear to me that something was about to happen. Right then, I decided it wasn't going to happen unimpeded. I was up and in place behind her fast enough that if she had pulled a gun, I was pretty confident that she wouldn't have been able to do much with it.
And I ask myself why I was ready to act and why so many others weren't. There were people who were much closer to her who could have intervened (had intervention truly been necessary). What if she did pull a gun? What if she turned and started shooting other people in the restaurant? Thank the Lord she didn't, but if she did... what would you have done? What would you have wanted to do?
I don't dwell on this sort of thing and I don't want to give the impression that I'm the some sort of psycho-vigilante riding the New York subway system with a screwdriver hoping to get a chance to use it. But I have thought situations like this through and I've also purposed within myself, that if crap does go down, I'm not going to be a victim, at least not one who didn't make a move to stop it.
I look back on this and I'm pleased how reacted. I was ready. Perhaps more imporantly, I wasn't overly ready. I didn't deck the woman without cause; I didn't exacerbate the situation. But I was ready.
Are you ready?