It always amazes me that someone can be totally oblivious to how they are perceived.
I am in a mood.
While running errands, I decided I needed a sloppy burger.
In n Out burger is good for that.
The one by LAX airport is busy 24/7.
You can go there at midnight on a school night and there are 50 customers inside and more than a dozen cars in line.
So you would think that 4:30pm on a Saturday would be a bad idea.
And you would be right.
A half hour after ordering, the food was ready.
But it is well worth the wait.
The burger is hot and juicy with enough grease that your arteries actually cry loud enough to be heard.
Since it was too crowded inside, I sat outside.
And that was when I first met him.
At the edge of the dining patio, laying asleep on the sidewalk, just in front of the cars in line to order, was a sleeping homeless guy.
Shaved head, shirtless, bright green board shorts.
And a six pack and a half of empty beer cans.
He wasn’t wearing them, the cans were piled in the planter next to him.
At first, I tried to figure out if he was dead, but I could barely discern some chest movement.
A noisy old car backfired, scaring the shit out of everyone on the patio.
And it woke up the player.
He staggered to his feet and looked around in a stupor.
I honestly have not seen someone this publicly drunk in years.
And it might have been me when I did.
There are a hundred different ways for a startled, groggy homeless guy to go when he is in this state.
And he goes the predictable route.
He makes the rounds of the patio, alternating between asking for money, a cigarrette, a light, money, and hitting on two teenage girls.
Where are the overzealous police when you need them?
Speak of the devil and he appears.
A LAWA cop car pulls up.
For those who don’t know LAWA is Los Angeles World Airports.
Their PD are stereotypes of the macho, power trip assholes you hear about.
(For the record, I am a great fan of law enforcement. But these guys are real close to that mall security guard that failed the military and police academy entry tests? And he is somehow convinced that hassling the kids hanging out in front of Cinnebon is the last line of terrorism defense.)
For a moment, I almost thought I was at the circus, 6 cops appear out of no where.
I thought they all came in the same car.
Then I see the other two cop cars, the parking lot being too crowded, so they are parked in the street, doors open, lights flashing, car abandoned.
This guy must have been brandishing a firearm before I got here, because these guys are postured for trouble.
Two have guns half out of holsters and one older, portly one is lovingly carressing a holstered tazer.
They ask him his name and then, I think, jump ahead of themselves by pulling him up and putting him in handcuffs.
Dinner and a show.
- According to the Player, this is all a big misunderstanding.
- No, those beer cans are not mine.
- No, I have not been drinking.
- I had two margarita several hours ago, at about 4 pm.
- It’s 4:30pm? I have not been drinking at all.
- Yes, you can look in my backpack.
- No, the weed is not mine, it belongs to a friend with a Kush card.
- Yes, I smoked some weed earlier, its for the stress. You know how it is.
- No, I don’t have a Kush card, and I have not been smoking.
- No, I never said that.
This is a seriously neat little exchange that is going on right next to my table.
At one point, I am shushed by one of the officers for laughing loudly.
The Player is just a mess, and the cops obviously want this to be something more than just a “Drunk in public” collar.
The desire to taser his nutsack is pretty plainly etched in their disappointed faces.
The asian students next to me are filming the whole thing on their phones, either to sell to the news if shit goes down, or for holiday souvenirs, take your pick.
In short order, the Player is frog marched to the waiting cop car and wisked away.
I finished my dinner.
And the burger was delicious.
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