Cafe Society

The other day, A and I stepped off the subway train, exited the platform, and proceeded to walk home. There is a park enroute to our apartment. Sometimes, there are people with nothing else to do all day who sit at the park and just hang out there. And they have what a friend of mine calls "bum wars." We encountered one such "bum war" as we walked past the park. We saw a young woman holding a bunch of sunflowers suddenly scream "Stop! Don't do that! Stop! For the love of God!" A man in his 50s (or 60s?) was lying on his back, face bloodied, and the man who had just done the damage, another middle-aged man who wore a yellow jacket, proceeded to walk across the street and step into a pay phone area.

A bystander old man with a cane murmured to the yellow jacket man, "You'd better leave before the cops get here." It was then that I took out my cellphone and dialed 911. About 20 people now surrounded the man on the ground. He was o-u-t. Some young street kids followed the yellow jacket man and began to harass him. Maybe to buy time.

I felt A want to do something about it. He is getting to the age where he feels he needs to right all the wrongs he sees. "Just go home," I told him. "Go take Napoleon out." He stood beside me. I was worried he was going to confront yellow jacket guy.

While I spoke to the 911 operator on the cellphone, I realized that I was standing in front of a cafe. The cafe patrons were calmly sipping their wine and frappes while mayhem had unfolded before them. I looked at a table of three young men. They smiled at the scene, and at me. "Nice to be entertained while sipping your wine, isn't it?" They nodded "Yes."

"I guess I have bigger grapes than you, then. That man was in need of help. You just sat and watched the man who beat him up walk right past you."

I think the b-m planning has me on edge.

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