BUSTED by a GYPSY

by TerryWalstrom 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom
    TerryWalstrom

    BUSTED BY A GYPSY
    __________________
    How do I know they are Gypsy?
    I had some run-ins in L.A. many years back. Had they worn a banner it wouldn't have been more obvious.

    The patriarch wore a special hat with a silver spangled band.
    I've seen the old gypsy with his cane and his scowl. He walks like a king or a panther at prowl.

    They have been portrayed as cunning, mysterious outsiders who tell fortunes and steal before moving on to the next town. I know nothing about that other than old black and white Universal horror films.

    He was just outside Starbucks with his daughter and son-in-law as he ignored what they were saying and turned his head away from them and lifted his chin.
    They were headed to the front door of Starbucks when the patriarch balked like a plow horse. He jerked his head and sat down as though staking a claim of some sort.
    I couldn't hear.

    The trio was just outside the window.
    The daughter was--it seemed--pleading.
    Papa couldn't be bothered.
    Her husband kept a wary distance, the way a hound does when the family cat has scored his nose with claws a time or two.

    After the abject begging satisfied his pride the craggy old fellow reached into his very deep pocket and extracted a bulk wad of cash like a month's load of tiny laundry.

    He peeled two bills and made his daughter reach for them at a stretch.
    I couldn't take my eyes away from this tableau.
    Minutes later, the couple were inside arguing in a peculiar language which seemed after a bit to change into other dialects!
    My mind flashed: "Is this how every minute of their life is constructed? How can they stand it?"

    But then--shamed by my own "white privilege" and stone ignorant conjectures, I withdrew my guesses and forced a blank slate.

    Once back outside, holding the old man's coffee in front of him, the Patriarch ignored her just long enough to make her look foolish before snatching it out of her hand and gesturing contemptuously for his change.

    I didn't actually KNOW what was happening for sure. I didn't like what it LOOKED like: a bully signifying his power and status.

    The young lady continued talking non-stop, pausing only to flash photos of small children in front of her old man's face. He never once turned his gaze toward them...or her.

    The cold rudeness drove me to put the whole thing out of my concern and I went back to what I was writing.
    ___

    That was 2 days ago.
    Today, the Elder Gypsy and his daughter were back. Both outside on the patio. No son-in-law in sight.
    I paid little mind to them as I could manage. Been there, done that!

    After a bit, the wind died and I abandoned the table inside by the window and exited. My usual table was taken. Only one table remained. I eased into the seat and set up my laptop.

    I was facing in the direction of you-know-who. Every once and awhile, I glanced up. I had my earphones in and couldn't hear.
    At one moment my eyes caught his glance and I suppose I glowered. My bad. His eyes were, as Robert Shaw said of the Great White's eyes in JAWS, "Cold and dead...like a doll's eyes."

    Eventually, the two of them got up to leave. He fumbled his cane and his daughter quickly fetched it for him. It was much practiced and fluid with grace.
    She headed for their vehicle. The patriarch with his shark eyes and black hat with glimmering silver band changed course and suddenly stood in front of my table.
    He lifted the tip of his cane and tapped it on the edge of my table. His lips moved. I heard not a word as I'd been listening to Mahler's 2nd.

    Yes, I was slightly startled and curious and maybe even amused at this unlikely confrontation.
    I pulled one earphone out of my head and squinted at his weathered face inquisitively.
    His daughter stood clear over by the car. I swung my head in her direction just as she spoke.
    "He's just being sarcastic."

    I heard him speak the same sentence several times. Each word corresponded with a cane tap on the symbol imprinted on my table's edge.

    He sounded like Bela Lugosi as Dracula.
    "Are you disabled? Are you disabled? Are you---?"

    I tightened my brain down in analysis mode and the little bell went off.
    I finally "got" what he was on about.
    He was busting me for sitting at a table with a handicapped logo.
    He was challenging me; calling me out.

    Now he had already quitted another table which had not been handicap only. So, it wasn't as though it were something personal to his needs.
    It was a show of force.
    A flexing.
    In my heart, I knew I had indeed sat at a handicap only table without even a moment's hesitation. And yet--it wasn't going to be THIS goober who would get me to move.

    I didn't say a word to him. I watched him with bemusement like you'd watch a fat kid trying to chin himself in P.E.

    I cocked my head a little and lifted my index finger to the side of my head and drew an airy circle round and round and round.

    He promptly pivoted and departed.
    Weird it was.

    My first impulse was to stand and wave him into my chair with a curtsy.
    That would be overt smartassery and an insult.
    Give me a gold star. I didn't.


    I can't help but wonder what the old fellow expected me to do?
    A bit of self-analysis tells me my reason for my own reaction was complicated
    by the fact I saw him as trying to take the moral high-ground after I'd seen him
    arguably occupying the low ground in his own family.

    I can't be sure.
    I'm not saying I was right, only that I wasn't completely wrong.
  • rebel8
    rebel8

    Interesting story!

    In other news, I have never heard of tables set aside for disabled individuals.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut
    I tightened my brain down in analysis mode and the little bell went off.

    I finally "got" what he was on about.
    He was busting me for sitting at a table with a handicapped logo.
    He was challenging me; calling me out.

    My first impulse was to stand and wave him into my chair with a curtsy.
    That would be overt smartassery and an insult.
    Give me a gold star. I didn't.

    Instead I took the fork that was laying on my table and plunged it deep into my thigh then looked into his one good eye and and said, "It's wooden...a rat gnawed it off back in 68 when I was doin' time in prison for being a conscientious objector." The lines on his road map of a face, smoothed out momentarily as he backed his way toward the door. "This is what I love about this place" I thought to myself. "There's so much scope for the imagination. Where else in the great State of Texas are you gonna' get a decent cup of coffee and have and encounter with a moralistic Gypsy?"

    Soon after the old fellow was out of sight, I called 911 so as to have my leg attended to.

  • JWdaughter
    JWdaughter

    They have disabled tables outside when they have more than a couple of tables. I was talking to a Mennonite lady at one a couple of weeks ago who had just had surgery and was using a wheelchair for a few weeks after total reconstruction of a foot. February is lovely in Texas. Except when it's not!

  • OUTLAW
    OUTLAW

    I'm not saying I was right, only that I wasn't completely wrong......TW

    You were sitting at a table designated for disabled people.....And....You knew it..

    In my heart, I knew I had indeed sat at a handicap only table without even a moment's hesitation.And yet--it wasn't going to be THIS goober who would get me to move.

    He was obviously disabled..

    Each word corresponded with a cane tap on the symbol imprinted on my table's edge.

    Assh*le or not..

    You took a disabled persons table, then you faced him down for it..

    If you wanted to maintain a facade of respectability..

    This is a story you should have taken to your grave, without ever mentioning it..

  • freddo
    freddo

    If you wanted to save face it might have been less wordy and time consuming to have risen unsteadily and limped to your vehicle ...

  • dropoffyourkeylee
    dropoffyourkeylee

    I had a disabling injury two years ago and went from able-bodied to disabled overnight. I didn't realize until then how fantastic the handicap access laws are. So while the old man may have been rude and even mean, I understand where he is coming from.

  • sparky1
    sparky1

    I have a 70 year old brother that has been disabled since he was a late aged teen. He can be obnoxious and rude to his family and friends. But he is also generous to a fault with his time and would be the first person to help anyone in need. Terry, I am appalled by your cavalier , 'no old obnoxious Gypsy cripple' is going to tell me what to do attitude. Please remember this: A few years ago, you had your bicycle stolen. Many posters here rallied to your aid and sent money to a go fund me type page. I for one sent a large donation to the site, knowing how much a new bicycle can cost. Next time you ride your bicycle to Starbucks, remember the generous people that made the trip possible and try to be 'generous' in your assessment of other humans and try to be cognizant of their 'needs' also.

  • Giordano
    Giordano

    I rather liked the story......good writing...I could see it.

    We've all noted toxic behavior........ adults who demean their children............ even grown children.

    This encounter showed a pattern of abuse in every subtle gesture.

  • TerryWalstrom
    TerryWalstrom

    The point (or moral) of my story is that I judged a man and he judged me back. I was the only person in the story provably wrong. I may be the only jerk!
    In writing it down, I grappled with self-justification. I don't want to be wrong or at fault even if I clearly AM!
    A kid says, "Everybody else is doing it."
    That's also what the Nazis said at the Nuremberg trials.

    Only one good thing has come out of the incident. I was shamed into seeing I'm a jerk for EVER sitting in a handicap spot.
    I deserve public calling out and humiliation.
    Getting the story posted guarantees I can't hide the fact I am an ass.
    There is something to be said for the old fashioned public humiliation method of curing scofflaws such as myself by pillory!