You probably saw me stammer through my phone number as I talked with the clerk at the T-Mobile counter. I was wearing a pair of jeans with an untucked button-up shirt. My wife had a maroon skirt and a simple top and our baby was wearing a blue striped zip-up and smiling her face off.
You, I remember it clearly, you had on a pair of black cargo pants and a white t-shirt, which you had tucked in. It strained to contain your tummy. Your hair was swept back, a month or two past the due date for a trim.
You stood at the counter talking politely, but firmly with the staff. At your hip a holstered pistol.
And I did it, I foisted a stereotype upon you.
Now I know, people who open-carry are just like you and me. In fact, they are you. But I just can’t help it. There was a tinge, hair stood up on the back of my neck. If you flip out, how will I protect my family? If they take too long with your demands, will you hold us all hostage? I saw the way you looked at me – likely daring me to voice my objections to your firearm.
Now I’m pretty sure you’re one of the good guys that the NRA swears is around to protect us. A trundling angel with sweaty pits sworn to justice and protection of the innocent. But I’m serious. I just can’t tell. Basically you look like every other Tom, Dick or Christopher Harper-Mercer.
Okay, oops, sorry. I did it again.
You’re not some lonely guy who thinks he’s totally lucid and has problems with girls who’s going to unhinge and go crazy. Maybe you’re just an anti-vaxxing liberal who’s going to vote for Bernie Sanders AND you just happen to like the respect a gun gets you.
Seriously, though, I wouldn’t characterize it as respect so much as fear and trepidation, which is maybe a pleasant thought for you that you get off on when you’re alone.
Okay, forget it. I can’t apologize. You are an asshole. Seriously people like you are the reason children are being shot to death around this country nearly every day. You are the reason our entire nation is overrun by anxiety. This is why we can’t have nice things.
At this point, I don’t even care about getting my wife on my family plan. I just want to get the hell out of T-Mobile with my family. I want to leave you behind and forget we ever made eye contact.
It’s just, I’m sorry, I think it’s over.
P.S. Here are the numbers for T-Mobile’s service line if you want to call them like I did and ask them to put one of those ‘Firearms not allowed on these premises’ signs.