I was waiting for my mocha latte inside Starbucks earlier this week and a guy walked in. He looked very Middle Eastern. That wasn’t the scary part. We have a lot of local people who immigrated from Syrian 30 years ago so that doesn’t make someone stand out.
He was carrying a small bag but that wasn’t the scary part either.
He was very sullen and gloomy. That was the scary part.
I didn’t see him order. He walked past me and sat down without a drink or food item.
Now the bag comes in. It looked like a plastic grocery bag with a few small items. I don’t know what explosives look like. It wasn’t big enough to contain any shrapnel items. I felt slightly better.
In that instance I was extremely conscious of everything around me. I had a need to get out but what about everyone else. These baristas are my friends. We’ve been together through S’mores and chestnut praline lattes.
There was a young boy standing next to me. He wasn’t in school yet. I may not know much about young children but I do know they shouldn’t die before they’ve had a chance to make their mark.
Do I yell “terrorist” and create chaos? Do I sashay over to grab his bag?
In the end I decided that the bag was too small for a bomb. The contents looked more like two or three boxes of aspirin or antihistamines. Being dark-haired, sullen and bearded doesn’t make you a terrorist. Having a headache or allergies may make you sullen and cranky.
If he had come in with a smile he wouldn’t have aroused my suspicion. If I had seen him order and pick up stuff he wouldn’t have aroused my suspicion.
This was my first experience seeing someone who looked out-of-place and scary. In the “old days” it was robbers. Being robbed never occurred to me.
Now it can be anything. It’s a new world.