Steve Earle knew something about the town I live in.
There ain't a lot that you can do in this town
You drive out to the lake and then you turn back around...
Unless I'm off on a ride somewhere, I have two nightly rituals. They're seasonal. When it's campfire weather, I burn a few hours of firewood and a few joints, listening to music under my tree. In the hot months, I wait for the sun to begin to set and I take a ride around the lake. I find an empty table at the city beach, smoke a joint and listen to some music.
The city beach is the main hangout spot for the homeless. Some people are turned off by that; I'm not. Since the pandemic, the city hasn't been forcing the homeless off the beach at 10pm, which I'm cool with, too. I'm there enough that those who hang out around there know me, at least by my face. Most of them know I'm good for a cigarette if you're friendly about it and before covid I wasn't averse to sharing my joint or vape pen. I just realized, since covid, I haven't shared a smoke with anyone. It's weird. Anyway, I've never seen the homeless cause any problems at the beach, but it can be risky at night if you don't have situational awareness, but not because of the homeless. The other crowd that hangs out there at night, usually along the sidewalk and parking lot, are the young, graffiti and beers punks. The guys who think their little 4 cylinder import is a muscle car. The kind of kids who think they own the sidewalk. I've never had a problem with them, either. In spite of my gentle and loving nature, I know I can appear intimidating on a sidewalk at night. Especially if I want to.
Last night, I was enjoying some Medcare Farms Kush and the brilliant 1987 solo debut from Robbie Robertson. Along about the third track, two guys came down from the sidewalk, mentioned smelling the weed, asked to partake. I told them I don't pass around a circle since the pandemic, but I remembered I had a second joint in my cigarette box so I gave it to them. I'm friendly like that.
I figured they'd go off and smoke it, but they hung around the table I was at. They didn't sit down. They pocketed the joint. My situational awareness came into clear focus and I got a very low vibe off those two. They looked scared or nervous. Why? I wasn't posing any threat. I've spent enough time on the streets to know that meant they were nervous about the threat they meant to pose.
"I kinda come down here to sit by myself and listen to music, guys." They would move along or they wouldn't.
"Yeah, dog, no cap." I only know what half of that means.
They were both on the opposite side of the table from where I was sitting. The guy on the right sort of set his stance at the corner of the table and the one on the left began to make his way around the table. Casually.
I was up in a second, backing up to put some space between us, where I could see both of them.
The guy that had been creeping around the table stopped and put his hands out. "Hey, man, we're all chill here."
We definitely weren't all chill here. I knew exactly what they had been up to the moment he started coming around. He meant to grab me from behind and they would rob me and probably beat me because it wouldn't have gone down easy for them.
I didn't pull my knife, but I pulled my t-shirt up over the sheath so they could see it and I could yank it fast. I didn't puff up. I didn't get loud. I didn't try to push a fight.
"I'm not stupid, bro." I kept my hand on my knife, unsnapped the sheath. It's a big enough knife to make a man think. even two dummies like them. "It's gonna go down bad if it goes down."
The guy at the corner of the table tried to act like I was out of my mind. He tried to play it off innocent, but both of them had nothing but truth in their eyes. "Man, we weren't gonna do nothin' to you."
"Yeah," his buddy said, "We're out, old man."
They went back up to the sidewalk. I kept an eye on my bike, but they only stayed a few minutes. They must have told their friends what just happened, because I heard a girl say "are you fucking stupid?" They got in their car and left.
I finished listening to the album and headed out. I hope the douchebags enjoyed that high quality marijuana I gave them.