Saturday, August 13, 2016

hugs anonymous

I bought the Friday $3 lunch special at Wegmans (with its absent apostrophe). Hot dog, soda, chips (Fritos). The cost for lunch goes to the United Way. It was sweltering outside. Heavy, dense, the wet heat a blanket. I went inside the cafe area to eat. Cooler. After a few bites, ketchup dripping off, I noticed, almost felt, a figure come toward me from my right, just beyond and then into my peripheral vision. Before my mind could calculate, I'm being jostled, hugged, but not harshly, playfully not violently. Almost the way someone would administer a noogie but this was around the upper body, my chest, my neck. It was a heavyset young man, late teens or early twenties. It scared me until it didn't. Before I knew it, he was walking away. A caregiver was upset. "Don't do that. Stop. You can't do that." The caregiver, a tall young man, apologized to me. I waved it off. I ruminated for a few seconds on semantics. No, we didn't use phrases like "developmentally delayed" as I was growing up. The designations were harsher. And yet in today's culture, America's current environment, let's be thankful I was not armed and quick-triggered, paranoiac, quick to defend, protect, and save myself and all others from all harm or threat.

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