What's America like in 2019? people from the future may ask.
It's a bunch of things. Here is my last night from a non-poetry perspective.
Near the end of the night, I overserved someone. I recognized they'd reached cut-off point, and then someone bought a drink that I assumed they were buying for themselves, but they were buying for the inebriated person. This happened twice.
Bearing the responsibilty for this person, I followed them outside, where they appeared to be doing ok (update: they were totally fine, and are totally fine now). I was about to head back inside when they were approached by someone I thought looked like a sleazebag. Mainly because they were hanging outside of the 7-11 in Central Square around midnight. The city has a lot of homeless. Central Square has a lot of homeless. Homeless people are not sleazebags. But the 7-11 is a magnet for rapists, thieves, and scammers who need you to donate money to a school they are opening up on another continent. Sleazebags,
I made my way toward their conversation, and it was harmless. The guy was trying to bum a smoke, which is totally reasonable behavior.
The person I overserved gave them a cigarette, lit it, and went about their way. But before I could leave the guy asked where I was going, and I said "Back to work."
Sleazebag #1: "Not me, man. No more work for me tonight. I'm going to hit up some bar."
Me: "Cool. Have a good night."
S1: "I'm going to pick up some bitches at that bar over there." He points to The Cantab. "Mabe some rich bitch will take me home."
"There are no bitches there." I said. "You should go to Tavern." (They're better staffed to kick out a drunk, misogynist sleazebag.)
I went back to work.
Work was fine. I was ready to leave when I got a text that someone had left their backpack behind, and it had their keys in it. So I went to kill time at the 7-11 while I waited for them to get back.
While I was deciding which overly sugared American drink to get, a Very Drunk Individual waved a can of Chef Boyardee at me and made indistinguishable noises.
"I don't know man." was all I could think of to say.
He moaned at me in a threatening manner and went outside.
There is a particular late night employee at that 7-11 that I always view as a Sloth (no, not a Goonies reference, just a very slow moving dude who probably eats lots of plants). Sloth practically ran outside, and I realized that moaning guy had shoplifted the Chef Boyardee.
I put my not important sort of groceries on the counter, bar code up, waiting for him to get back. I had time to kill. It was fine.
Sloth came back in, still moving faster than I'd ever seen him. He picked up the phone behind the counter and called the cops. "I am at the 7-11 in Central Square, and we have a shoplifter who--"
And then Moany Sleazebag came back in. "YOU MIND YOUR BUSINESS!!!" He slurred. "NOSEY. SO NOSEY. WHY ARE YOU BEING NOSEY MAN? I JUST WANT MY. I JUST WANT MY WHATEVER THIS IS. BUT YOU GOTTA BE NOSEY."
"He's in the store yelling at me." the 7-11 employee said.
"NOSEY DAMNED FOREIGNER. TRYING TO. TRYING TO GET ME IN TROUBLE WITH HIS DAMNED NOSE. I'M GONNA CALL ICE ON YOU."
And this sack of shoplifting MAGA hat took out his phone and called 911 and asked for Immigration.
The cops arrived pretty quickly while this guy was yelling about ICE to a 911 operator. Prompting more cops to show up.
While I paid for my not important purchase, MAGA sleaze was yelling "DAMN NOSEY FOREGNERS COME TO OUR COUNTY. DON'T WANT TO SELL ME MY. MY DINNER OR WHATEVER. TOLD ME I COULDN'T HAVE IT. NOT EVEN FROM THIS COUNTRY. TELLING ME HOW TO EAT."
(None of that ever happened.)
"SHOW HIM. GET THEM. GET THEM ICE GUYS. SEND HIM BACK TO AFRICA. WHEREVER HE'S FROM."
(I would be remiss to point out that this paradigm of social decay was not a White Dude, and may have spent some time deflecting "back to Africa" comments from other MAGA turds.)
"YOU SHOULD. YOU SHOULD TAKE HIM AWAY TO AFRICA RIGHT NOW. LET ME EAT MY DAMN DINNER IN PEACE."
I had to get out. In this particular instance, at least, the police were very aware that this was a drunk shoplifter with possible mental issues (apart from being stupid enough to buy into racist bullshit). They also knew the 7-11 guy, and were just letting him do his work.
Outside, a woman approached me. "Young Man!"
No good will come of this.
"Young Man, do you--"
Another police SUV pulled up to the curb. Making four, total.
"Nevermind. You have a good night Young Man. I'm getting the fuck outta this noise."
"That bitch wanted more than your phone number." said Sleazebag 1 from earlier. He was standing in The Bar doorway. "I'm bouncing, too. Too many pigs"
And Then He Fucken Skipped Past The Police Officers who, of course, stopped him. Because one can not non-chalantly skip. Anyone trying to avoid police by skipping is too stupid to be on the streets alone.
So now there are four cops in the 7-11, two detaining Skippy The Wonder Sleaze, and two lightly nudging a homeless guy who had been passed out in front of the 7-11 for hours.
The Bar's "bouncer" came out.
CB: "Where did that guy go."
I pointed at Skippy and the police.
CB: "Ok. Good. Why are there so many ---" he gestured at the police SUVs.
"There was a shoplifter at the 7-11, and --"
He gestured at the 7-11. "Always something going on here. That's why they call this Mentalist Square."
I wondered about the populace of psychics and hypnotizers in the immediate area, and then realized what he was trying to say.