Sometimes in life we are forced to confront our own ethical and moral standards. We receive no prior warnings and can only act in the moment. This morning, I had that experience at Burrito Spot.
First thing’s first: Why the fuck was I at a Burrito Spot at eight o’clock in the morning?
Answer: I woke up around six with a slight hangover. This was expected, as I had done some semi-aggressive drinking around town yesterday and had called it an early night. On a side note, the fried pickles at Junction are the best fucking thing ever and will feature prominently in my next blog, Things Corbin Loves. But this isn’t about fried pickles (unfortunately). After going through the usual hangover routine of alternatively failing to fall back asleep and marinating in silent self hatred (which usually takes thirty minutes to an hour), I decided that the best course of action would be to get a breakfast burrito.
For those who are unfamiliar with Burrito Spot (you lucky, healthy bastards), their breakfast burritos are a thing of grotesque beauty. It is literally a brick of carbs the size of a newborn baby. Three of them could probably kill the guy from Man Vs. Food. When you bite into it, you realize that you can’t even discern the ingredients (cheese, potatoes, sadness) from one another but find solace in the fact that you probably won’t be hungry for another two days after consumption. Hence, my decision to get one. Oh, and I was drinking an energy drink too. Just in case you think I had any level of self-respect. Perhaps, subconsciously, I am training myself like Westley in The Princess Bride to consume poison in small quantities in case I ever have to swallow a bottle of arsenic on a dare.
Anyway, while I was sitting in Burrito Spot consuming my Food Orgy of Despair, a guy entered the establishment that looked like a cross between Steve Buscemi and Christian Bale in The Machinest. He looked like he weighed about 80 pounds and his skin was the color of day-old dishwater. My very first thought was “CRACKHEAD!” I immediately admonished myself for judging people by their looks alone. Then I saw him steal a dollar from the tip jar and place it under the counter right before the girl at the register noticed him.
Whoever said not to judge a book by its cover probably had his wallet stolen at some point.
Just to clarify: The only people in the store at the time were myself, The Crackhead, and the register girl. Up to this point, The Crackhead still hadn’t noticed me. The register girl excused herself and went to the back. I watched him steal the rest of the paper money from the tip jar (probably five bucks) as soon as she was out of visual range. As my groggy, 50% capacity brain tried to comprehend what I was watching, he turned around and our eyes met. My look said what my mouth, for some reason, couldn’t: “I saw what you did, fucker.” He immediately booked it out of the restaurant. As he passed by the window, I could see that he was laughing.
This all took place over the span of about thirty seconds.
Maybe it was shame or maybe it was the metric ton of calories from the burrito, but I immediately lost my appetite. When the girl returned, I told her what had happened in case the guy ever came in again. You never know. He didn’t look like the most forward thinking individual in the world. As I was leaving, she said “Why didn’t you say something?” At a loss for words, I made some excuse about it happening so quickly and gracelessly made my exit.
As I walked back home, that question kept reverberating in my head. Why didn’t I say anything? Fear, obviously. Fear of confrontation, fear of causing a scene, fear of being stabbed by a possibly unstable addict and being the subject of tomorrow’s headline.
Sure, it was only five dollars. Sure, it was Burrito Spot. Sure, I wasn’t thinking clearly. But that doesn’t take away from the principle of it all. I keep thinking about the scene in Spiderman where Peter Parker lets the burglar run off with Bruce Campbell’s money. At least I don’t have an Uncle Ben.
So thanks a lot, Mister Stealing Crackhead. You’ve successfully made me question myself and my entire moral compass before noon. I sure hope you bought food with that money, though somehow I doubt it.