Before he became belligerent without provocation, this man told me about his late wife, how she died, where he lived, and the fact that he had been flagged from his neighborhood bar, and had been in jail for three years. Here he was showing me his tattoo, and holding very still so I could take a good shot of it. Less than an hour later, however, he was snapping at me for talking too loudly and "not listening," though I had done almost nothing but listen, since my one aim was to hear stories, his or whosever, and not tell my own. At this point, he was the only one to show antagonism, for everyone else had been extremely friendly. They talked my ears off, and one even recited a poem to me. A man wanted me to take a photo of him kissing the bartender, then gave me an email so I could send him the image. I was laughing and laughing with people until this crank became weird, but then he calmed down, and I thought we were cool. When I stepped out of Johnnie's for about 15 minutes, however, he apparently told everyone I was a cop, so I was completely unprepared to come back to a different reception, and so I picked up my bag and slowly walked out, but not before I said goodbye to him even, "I don't know what's happening, man, but it was good talking to you." I looked him in the eyes, smiled and shook his hand, but then he chased after me, and this was no one-on-one confrontation, for it almost never happens that way, for in real life and not on screen, most men are cowards. So here I was confronted by three guys outside the bar, and when this gent grabbed my left forearm, I removed his hand quite forcefully, for what choice did I have? I took out my phone and walked backward into a store whose door happened to be open, and the store owner, bless his soul, quickly instructed a male employee to not let my harassers in. When one tried to enter, the employee chased him out and locked the door. Within two minutes, two cops showed up, and one asked me, "What do you want to do?"
"I just want to walk to the train station and get the hell out of Norristown! If you have questions, just ask the people in this store. They saw everything from beginning to end." And so I walked away as the cops watched my back. Just in case you think my experience a gross abberation, two September shootings occured five hours apart within three blocks of where I was standing, and this I've only found out from the folks inside Johnnie's. Since no flesh was punctured in these shootings, just cars, they never made the news. Charming place, this Norristown.