The scene: Colorado Springs, 9 p.m: Amit and Mishana stroll into a 7-Eleven to pick up a quick coffee after a cold day of hiking in the beautiful Colorado mountains. It’s been a long day but the sky is still glowing with the last rays of sunset and they decide they want to walk about and see the local flavour. There’s a bunch of shady characters hanging around in the parking lot. Some crouched together in a huddle, some looking a bit homeless, one skinny, scruffy girl doing break-dance steps to music in her head, and others shuffling around.
M to A: Let’s get the coffee and get outta here! This place is giving me the heebie-jeebies!
A to M: Yep.. me too. Too much local flavour for me..
M, still feeling spiritually connected to the world, and guilty for being too quick to stereotype: Are we judging people too quick? Being narrow minded?
The seed has been planted. While they wait for the coffee to brew, A and M talk about perceptions and how travellers should be open minded on the road. Phrases like “non judgmental” and “human beings after all” and “trying to step out of our comfort zone” float around. They decide its only 9 pm on week night, on a main road with people walking around. And that they should just stay and finish their coffee and doughnut like they had planned.
A to sales clerk: Is this place safe to hang out, while we finish our coffee?
Sales clerk: Not unless you want to get STABBED!! This place is full of freaks.
—Stunned silence ——
M pulling A’s sleeve: Letsgoletsgoletsgoletsgo
A: Okay thanks, we’re heading.
Sales clerk gets chatty now: I mean, I’ve only been here for a week, and I’ve seen three fights already. And there was this robbery last month… (his voice fades away as A and M scramble over other customers to get out.)
They step outside, to hear the sound of screaming and see a cop frogmarching a young woman away from the corner towards his car. She’s yelling and crying at the same time. The other ‘freaks’ are ambling around watching.
A and M together: *&## *&## *&##
Another cop car comes racing up and screeches to a halt. A woman police officer jumps out, runs up to them, and BODYSLAMS the woman against the bonnet of the cop car! A wrestling match ensues and the ‘criminal’ is handcuffed, doubled over the car. A and M make a wide circle around the cop cars and scurry back to the motel. They’ve had enough of the local flavour and have lost the spiritual connection completely for the night.
Just another night safe in our judgmental comfort zone.