Average Joe

A few moments ago, I watched it happen. At first, I had every intention of laughing it off. Something changed, but  it’s not time for that yet.

It’s not funny to see two homeless people fight. What they were allegedly fighting over – literally a spilled coffee… Now THAT is funny. I watched, heart racing, as one man took the other to the ground by the collar of his shirt. One by one, bystanders intervened.

I was about to, but I was a bit too late on catching up to the action. I calculated how many people stood up from their chairs vs. how many were fighting, and how many bodies was too many bodies to come between them and assuage the commotion.

Yeah… I really do that. And while it may make me slower on the upbeat, I think my interference would have been sheer interference and not true intervention. By the end of it, the two men and the woman each had two people holding them back by the arms, collars, etc. I was not needed, though I feel weenie for not being there. It’s a pride issue I have, though occasionally justified.

As I was saying, one man took the other man down, throwing a well-aimed punch to the other guy’s face. At that point, it didn’t matter who started it or what happened next. It needed to stop. So let the calculating begin.

More significant than the fight was the fact that there was a gentleman next to me who watched the whole thing escalate, from the point they started arguing to the point it turned physical, immediately ran to intervene. Mayhaps he had already calculated the event. My guess is he hadn’t because he reacted so quickly, it would have required pre-calculation. I saw him rise and run, looked in the direction he was running, and began my mental notes. At that point, there were three men who rose from their seats directly adjacent to the event, a woman running away, screaming, and four others around me stood, inside the coffee shop.

Off the bat, there were seven ready to help. But the best and worst thing was that none of the three surrounding the fight touched a shirt until the guy who was next to me had risen, bolted out the door, and rip one man off the other (this is, of course, post punch. mid-punch, the guy next to me had a foot out the door). The other three in the shop walked casually toward the door.

Only after my good friend had reverse-body-slammed the one man off the other had the other three stepped in. Okay, so now I’m down in the count, sitting at my table, four responding to three (the angry lady joined after the punch and reverse-body-slam). At this point, I feel bad because I let my analysis interfere. See the difference?

Had I the opportunity to go back, I’d have screwed the calcs and dove in. But that’s irrelevant because you can’t, and shouldn’t, anticipate these events. What I mean is we all ought to assume peace until proven discord.

In addition, I found today that we all, when proven discord, ought to assume action until proven peace. We all ought to assume love until proven hate.

That is not how the world works, and I am sad to say that so sincerely.

My good friend? Oh, he’s not talking about it anymore like the rest of the damn coffee shop onlooker passivists (like myself). He’s tutoring a lady in advanced mathematics, of some sort. She wasn’t even here for it, and he hasn’t even told her.

My friends, that is what I call a fantastic human. I’m going to go shake his hand now, if you’ll excuse me.

…Better still, the homeless man who was reverse-body-slammed shook the hand of my buddy, thanking him for breaking up the fight. That is Love.

My buddy’s name is Joe. He told me he didn’t do anything special. I beg to differ.

C’mon guys. The coincidence… Average Joe.

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Michelle builds starships.

Sharing my story through a science fiction blog.

Paola Trimarco

Writer and Linguist


"I saw the Angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free"

Jo Writes Fantasy

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