I picked up a quarter for this fu manchu looking young lad last night before he offended me. Today I realize, what we had was an offensive sandwich.
There was a big slice of misunderstanding and the matter of some time between him being offended and me being offended and everything being everyone's fault was featured as the 'special sauce'.
For anyone still offended by fu manchu, don't blame that silly facial hair pattern on me.
I was mid-conversation when half of the man's fare for the thrill-ride that is the BUCKSHOT arcade game rolled away from him, off the edge of a wobbly cabaret table and onto the floor. Being that the laws of physics are among the last laws that occur to you when you are drinking, this cat kept searching the floor near his feet and nowhere near mine. As the quarter rolled in my direction, this was dumb.
I was trying to find a breath in this particular conversation to indicate to the man that he might want to look near my friend and me, but he wrote the change off quickly to the female companion who helped him search for it.
Too quickly for my personal tastes, I must confess. I hate the disdain money inspires in people. A quarter is no unimportant thing. A quarter can be the difference between breaking or not breaking a $20. And a $20 unbroken can get you through a broken day on hope, gleaming clean and green from you wallet.
Thirty or forty minutes later, when my friends and I were leaving, I grabbed my things and noticed his quarter on the floor. I picked it up and presented it to the man. "Here's your quarter... You lost before..."
He looked at me with such wondrous peculiarity, before informing me, "I have a job."
At least I am pretty sure that is what he said. In bars, you never can be too sure. I held the quarter out to him steadfast. He did finally consent to taking it from me.
I was upset by his reaction. Feeling he was unduly rude to me. Startled at the very least. Just put off and offended. Everyone laughs at nice people. Like he's so amazing he wouldn't need to pick up the change he drops, and who was I to suggest otherwise?
Sometime before writing all of this down, I realized that he might have been offended by me; thinking that rather than his quarter, it was mine I was handing him. Offering him some kind of charity for having lost his tribute to the bar gods. Here's another quarter monkeyman. Try again. He though I was possibly pitying and hitting on him in one swell foop.
Damn. That's not good.
But none of that actually happened. Just potentially in his head it happened. And none of it, the little nicks of hurt, none of it had to happen if he didn't get offended. He didn't have to see the worst in something so small. Do that scattered impromptu of the defense offense. Sending out a little cold bullet of two or three words. Something so small. Lodged in my brain.
(Though posted first chronologically, the preceding is a continuation on the theme of 'sandwich'. The above sandwich is not that offensive. It just came up in the image search for 'offensive sandwich'. Maybe that smear on the bread is poo. That's definitely offensive.)