Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Getting Beheaded in Atlanta

I don't know about you but I have just about had it with the crazy, insurgent, whackos around the world trying to intimidate all the rest of us. The recent beheadings of the 21 Egyptian Coptics by ISIS is all the rage on the news media. It seems to me that the media provides the cave man terrorist with just what they are looking for. The shock headlines that tell the world just how mentally disturbed they are and that we had all better lock ourselves in our houses and hide while they take over the world.

I am addicted to Afrin nose spray. So is about 50% of America. That is how Schering-Plough designed it so as to secure a robust sales curve for all investors and employees. I was in downtown Atlanta around 25 years ago with my family on a Braves weekend and had forgotten my Afrin, aka: snoot medicine. After trying to sleep in the Marriott hotel with all my family with me I made a decision to go buy some Afrin. I eased into my jeans and sneakers and a tee shirt, grabbed some money and went to the lobby. I asked the concierge where the closest convenience store was located. He responded thusly: " About two blocks down Peachtree. However, sir you are not going there at this hour are you?" My response was " Yes, I cannot sleep because I cannot breathe. I am addicted to breathing and therefore must get some Afrin nose spray." His response was, " Sir please don't do that. That would be decidedly dangerous. You are in DOWN TOWN Atlanta. It is 3:15 AM" I explained to him that I really did not have a choice and I was going to go. He suggested that I drive there and not walk. I agreed, he had the valet bring my car up and off I went.

Now to describe this location in downtown Atlanta at 3:00 in the morning goes beyond my capability on the keyboard. Let me just say that demilitarized zone sounds adequate. I was the only caucasion in that parking lot. However, I was determined and I exited my car and heard the following ( no kidding ) " Hey Bubba, you see that honkey over there? Do you want to kill him or do you want me to?" Since I was the only "honkey" in sight I assumed he was speaking of me. I reason, that one way or the other my breathing is going to be compromised. By that time I was committed. I went inside, located the Afrin, pressented it to the clerk and paid the $5 for 1/4 ounce of the precious concoction and headed to my car. ( I would have paid $50 for it ). On the way out I stood as tall as I could, kept my eyes moving and all I saw was 20 or so pairs of intoxicated, higher than a drone eyes following me. I never picked out Bubba but honestly speaking I did not see anyone in that group of people that I did not feel sorry for. If I had to fight, I was ready and liked my odds against pretty much everyone I saw. 20 minutes later I was back in bed, breathing deeply and off to dream land.

The next morning Nancy, my wife inquired as to where I had gone so early in the morning. I told her. She had thought I was milling around the lobby of the hotel looking to get something out of a vending machine. She turned pale when I told her of my experience.

Later on in the day I made the decision that we were going to the Braves game vi a MARTA. The brochure made it sound so much easier than driving and fighting traffic and parking. We had a MARTA station right by our hotel. After purchasing some cheaper than dirt tokens we were on our way. Mostly the train was crowded with people on their way to see the Braves play. Except for the fact that seated next to my daughter was a fellow with purple hair, ear rings  and numerous tatoos. He was leaning on my daughter and talking trash to her. She advised me and I changed places with her. He was disinterested in her middle aged over weight Father and we completed the trip without incident.

After peanuts and cracker jacks, hot dogs and a great game it was time to go back to the hotel. My family begged me to not have us ride MARTA back. So I hailed a taxi. After a 20 minute scary ride and a $40 fare we were back at the hotel. A good night's sleep and a smooth car ride back home to Tallahassee and now that trip is a faint memory. I have been back to Atlanta dozens of times since then.

My point is simply this. We have to decide whether or not we are going to be intimidated by the likes of ISIS or not. Do we surrender our freedom of movement because they put on public display their sick and tormented minds driven by a centuries old dissatisfaction with their way of life? Or do we continue to enjoy our lives and do all that we can to teach ourselves, our children and grandchildren that there are many beautiful things in this world that are worth taking the time to see. To retreat to our bedrooms and draw the covers over our heads renders us victims of those demented people. They win if they drive us to that option.

I like the bumper sticker that was seen prominently displayed in lots of places after 9/11. It said very simply and directly, " Do not be afraid..............Be alert."