I made the error of going to a Jack in the Box on Milpas last night around 11:30 pm. It was ill-advised because (a) it’s extremely unhealthy for the body to eat a spicy jalapeno chicken sandwich at that hour, and (b) because you run the risk of having altercations with mentally challenged guys wearing knit skullcaps. Especially if you don’t look like a typical Milpas guy (i.e., working class Hispanic or lowball hand-to-mouther, Foot Locker shoes, pimply complexion).
My basic mistake was being dressed too uptown for the Jack — dark gray sports jacket, tight jeans, shiny black loafers, SBFF press pass and a jet-black Canon S515 with the wide-angle lens slung around my neck. If you’re going to a Jack in the Box on Milpas at that hour you have to wear homey jeans and Converse sneakers with a bad barber-pole haircut and no accessories.
I had ordered my stupid chicken sandwich and was standing there waiting when a young Hispanic guy who had ordered before me walked by and stared at my camera and then pointed at it, going “heh-hey!” He came to a stop just to my right, and then another guy — 22 or 23, drunk, wobbling — walked up and stood to my left. Was this a set-up for a mugging? They were standing just a little too close for comfort; they should have given me just a bit more room.
Then out of the blue the Hispanic guy turned to me and looked at the camera again and started giggling — “Hee-hee, hee-hee, hee-hee.” Doofus, I said to myself. Ignore him, stare straight ahead. He did it again, eyeballing and gesturing, “Hee-hee, hee-hee.” Good God. I decided not to retreat because I didn’t want to look weak or intimidated, but I was saying to myself, “S’okay, hang in there, it’ll be over in a few seconds.”
But when the skullcap guy eyeballed and hee-hee’d and pointed again, I’d had enough. “The fuck is your problem?” I snapped, glaring daggers. He was silent for four or five seconds, and then said, “What’s your problem?”
It’s my fault for coming here, I told myself. Live with it, tough it out. This guy is Lenny from Of Mice and Men so chill down, go easy. I stared again at the food sign. Then the damn sandwich was finally ready.
I fought with myself during the drive back to the hotel. Throw it out, throw it out. Don’t eat the damn thing. I lost the battle. I ate it back in the hotel room. That’s it for me and Jack in the Box for at least the next ten years.