Friday, June 1, 2012

A License to Carry

A while ago I needed to have a suit pressed. In a hurry. I may have mentioned before that I’m a bit of a procrastinator, and it hasn’t really gotten any better. So when I went to the cleaner on a Friday afternoon, I was looking to have the suit back and pressed by Saturday morning.
I explained to the man that I didn’t need the suit cleaned, simply pressed. Really just the jacket, actually.
Him: “Monday.”
Me: “Monday?”
Him: “Monday.”
So I was out in the parking lot putting the wrinkly suit back in my Jeep when a man approached me from the street. He’d been driving past, and stopped to hop out of his car and flag me down.
“Hey! Can I ask you a question?”
I did the old look-over-the-shoulder move, wondering if this stranger was really talking to me. I didn’t see any other likely suspects — I didn’t see any other suspects at all.
“Sure,” I said. “What’s up?”
“I’m moving here from New Hampshire, okay, and I have a permit to carry a gun up there.”
Terrific, I thought. Confronted by a probably armed stranger, and I decide to play Mr. Friendly.
“Okay,” I said, cautiously.
“Well, I was wondering how to go about getting a permit to carry concealed down here. Can you tell me where to go and how to go about it? I’d really appreciate it.”
Wow, I thought. Either this guy knows I’m a postal worker and he thinks I’m right on the edge, or I just look like a guy who carries a gun. Wait… what the hell does a gun-carrying guy even look like? Or is it simply that everyone in New Hampshire carries guns, so it’s expected? Why don’t I know about this?
“Uh,” I said, not wanting to antagonize this possibly gun-toting whack-job of a new Massachusetts resident, “I’m sorry, but I really have no idea.”
His face, which was, honestly, quite open and friendly looking, with a big smile, fell like a thing that really falls when it falls (I was trying to come up with something clever there, but looky-looky, I came up dry).
“Seriously?” he said. “I would have thought that you, especially, would know…”
What kind if a nut-bag, I wondered, just walks up to people and assumes they are carrying a concealed weapon? Well obviously the kind who is armed and ready to respond in kind. I tensed, wondering just what caliber his disappointment was about to take place in. I said the first thing that came to mind, trying with all my might to sound cool about it, and not like I was a hair away from begging not to be shot on the street for being unhelpful.
“Yes, I’m sorry, but I have no idea about permits and stuff. I mean, I don’t even own a gun…”
“You’re kidding!”
He looked incredulous and took a step toward me. I had already tensed, so my only options were to tense even further, or simply relax entirely and play dead right there on the macadam. I chose to tense further, reasoning that if I were to relax too much at that point I wasn’t going to get out of this situation with clean, dry pants.
As he stepped closer I was anticipating him saying something like “Well, they look like this,” or maybe “Here, this is what I’m talking about,” as he put me face-to-face with the weapon in question. Instead, he popped up on tip-toes and took a better look at my hat.
“Oh!” He sounded startled, and had made no obvious moves toward a weapon. I considered un-tensing a bit, but opted to stay tight. No reason to risk the pants now.
“I’m sorry,” he said, backing up a step and holding up his hands in a conciliatory gesture. “I saw your hat and thought you were a State Police Officer. Wow… this must have seemed weird.” He gave a laugh. “I’m sorry about that!”
I took off my cap and looked at the front, at the North American Fishing Association Lifetime Membership patch on the front.
“No,” I lied as I put the hat back on. “Not strange at all. It happens all the time.”
I got in my car, he got in his, and we went our separate ways, he looking for gun-toting advice, me speeding toward a toilet so I could relax safely.
So, what do you think my next stop with the hat should be? Attempted traffic stop of the next guy I see driving like an idiot? Think it might work?

Yeah. Me neither. One migrating idiot doth not the cool traffic-stop story make.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - Happily, I made it to a toilet with no more surprises. Though it was a close one!

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