For those of you who know me well, know I love to write. All I need is a cup of warm coffee, my computer and I’m golden. Well, that plus my headphones. Not to mention a solid Internet connection in order for Spotify to stream a relaxing melody into my ears. Yeah that’s it. Good luck finding me when all those variables are in place.
But what I’m here to share with you in written form no less, is what happened at around 3ish.
Today, like most days, I’m at the library. For me, the library offers minimal distractions. For one, it’s a ‘freakin’ library so for the most part people try their best to buttoned up their mouths. And second, it’s not a highly trafficked joint like say, Starbucks. I’ll admit I’m a people watcher. I like to look at all kinds of people. If those people happen to be beautiful women in tight clothes then I border on creeper status. So that’s why I fancy the library. Outside of security patrolling the floor, none of those distractions exists.
Anyway, after about four hours of fulfilling writing in the library, I decided to switch venues and head up the street to a place with more distractions, the coffee shop. But this story isn’t about the coffee shop otherwise known as spot numero dos. It’s about what the security personnel said to me as I passed him while he was stationed at his podium/desk if you will.
But first, here’s a little backstory for you. This security guy is a black man. A Negro (said in a Spanish accent). A person of color to be more politically correct. Or is that correct? Anyway, moving forward. Albeit I’ve seen this man on several occasions, I don’t know him. I don’t know his first name, nor do I know his last. The only common bond we share is that his skin pigmentation and mine, for the most part, look similar. Truthfully, for the longest time I thought this dude was an ass. I hated how he walked. He would always make his rounds with these gaping strides, as if his ‘daddy’ built the library long ago.
I used to sit at a table directly across from where all the public computers were. Seated at one of those public computers was this exotic Asian lady. I think she was Asian, but what doesn’t it really matter. Creeper alert, right? Anyway, what matters is that I felt my quote on quote brother out of common ancestry was giving this cute little lady unnecessary grief because she had one leg propped up on top of a waste basket. It’s a freakin wastebasket for Christ’s sake. Dude literally came over and gave her a ‘grandfather’ type lecturing over something that could have easily been overlooked.
Several days pass and nothing changes on my part, instead my ‘brotha’ passes by my table and nonchalantly nods his head and asks how I’m doing. I reply in similar manner and we’re good from then on. KAAPLAM! Just like that. In my heart I was cool with dude. After all, the man was just doing his job.
Fast forward to today. I’m passing by his podium, he looks up and says,” You outta here?” I glance in his direction, thinking nothing of it and say,” Yeah, It’s time for me to go”. The man whom I once internally viewed as a brute suddenly changed his visage and with legitimate seriousness in his eyes said, “Be careful out there my brotha.” “Be careful,” I thought to myself. At first I snickered. What the hell do I need to be careful about? What is there to fear?
I was nearly out of the door and looked back over my shoulder. “You too my brotha”, I wholeheartedly replied as the door closed behind me.
Damn, is it really like that out there? Thank God racial injustice ending in my demise has never plagued my life directly. But the way that black security officer told me to conduct my day with caution was mind blowing! Yeah I live in Arizona where gun laws are pretty relaxed, but damn! This isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan (common conflict zones) where it would behoove me to duck and dodge bullets, is it? Maybe us Negros (said in a Spanish accent) should wear helmets from now on.
For the past weeks I’ve chosen to remain reticent regarding this topic, but I guess his six words pierced my heart like six bullets.