#68. Uncomfortable Situations, Part 1

Caribou... where life in Minnesota happens. photo by mastermaq via flickr
Caribou… where life in Minnesota happens. photo by mastermaq via flickr

Caribou isn’t my favorite coffee shop in the Twin Cities. However, there are two locations between my house and my office. Stopping in requires zero re-routing, so when I want a coffee and I am in a rush, it’s all about the ‘Bou.

There is this homeless guy who hangs around my general neighborhood. He’s about 6’3″, very thin with long, scraggly gray hair and a beard. He actually looks like the homeless version of Old Man Marley from Home Alone (now that I think about it, that Old Man Marley does look kinda homeless all on his own!).  In the summer, he lounges on this one boulevard by the bus depot. And in the winter, apparently he hops from Caribou to Caribou.

Anyhow, the other day I was leaving Caribou, coffee in hand, and I saw him walking toward the door. He was just far enough away that I really didn’t need to hold the door open. In fact, I knew holding the door open for that length of time would be awkward. But I decided to do it, especially since it was -10 below and you gotta be nice to people when it’s that cold. It’s a rule.

As he approached the door, we made eye contact. In real time, it probably lasted five seconds, but it felt like 30. I stepped out of the way so he could enter. He did not break eye contact with me, nor did he say anything. It was so INTENSE. I sputtered out an unnaturally chipper, “Good morning!” and smiled. He said nothing, maintaining a wide-eyed, locked stare.

If I’m being 100 percent honest, at that moment, I wanted to do this:

But that’s just not acceptable for many reasons. Instead, just slowly turned and walked to my car.

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