The heat sometimes brings out the crazies in a big city like Chicago, and Monday was a record-high 77 degrees, a great day especially considering the record-low February we just endured. So people were walking around everywhere in light clothing feeling really good and enjoying themselves. Some of us had the misfortune of being around the unwashed, thawed-out homeless folks, however, and they can make the most beautiful day seem awful. As I left my workplace around 1:30 to go to lunch, there was an angry man with grays in his hair and beard and no shirt on holding his hand out and walking right up on people as if he was going to do bodily harm to them if they didn't give him something, money, weed, I don't know exactly what. Since I don't know what's in the head of people like that, I avoided him and started walking across the street. The guy decided to make me his new friend for the next half-block or so. "What you say to me? I'll kick your ass too!" he mumbled just low enough so that I may not have caught it. I did have my headphones on, but my radio was off, so I could hear him just fine. "What you say? Come on Biggie Smalls, I ain't scared of you!" I didn't respond to him at all, didn't even look in his direction. He did come rather close to me at one point, maybe five feet away, but I sped up my walk and ducked into a restaurant figuring he wouldn't follow me into a somewhat classy-looking public place. He didn't. I only stayed for maybe a minute, and when I left, he had completely vanished.
I really don't like the idea of having to take someone on for no reason than the guy wants some action on this particular day. If I piss someone off with my diarrhea of the mouth, that's one thing. But this fucker was just following folks around looking for a confrontation, starting arguments in his head. There's absolutely no telling if the guy is insane and is looking to start something so he has an excuse to whip out a weapon from his pants pocket. Just because he had no sleeves to hide a knife doesn't mean he didn't have a shank stuck in his waistband. Because I don't know where his mind is, if he had gotten within arm's length, I would have dropped him where he stood with one punch. I have no desire to wait until he does something to defend myself. I'm sure a lot of people would have a problem with my approach because I'd be committing an assault on someone with little or no provocation, but the way I see it, it's either him or me. I haven't been in a fight since grade school, and that's part of the reason why I would knock him out first--because I don't have any practice at defending myself in a one-on-one situation, so "sucker punch" is option #1 on my list. It may not be the politically correct course of action, but it's the one that will keep me from getting attacked by a random nutcase.