“He’s tweaking, definitely on meth.”
“He has his clothes on so he can’t be on PCP.”
“He’s definitely on some sort of serious drugs.”
Five of our bar staff were all watching the 18-ish year old kid pace back and forth outside of the window, debating his drug of choice. He was talking to himself, staring off into space and shaking a bundle of keys.
Back and forth, back and forth. Bad acne, blank stare, dirty clothes.
“How do you know he’s on meth? I can’t say for sure that I’ve ever seen someone on meth. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of people on drugs, but how do you know what drug it is? What’s a PCP high like versus Meth?”
“Well people on PCP always do crazy shit like take their clothes off. Right? That’s what I’ve heard.”
“All I know is what I’ve seen from TV or the movies…”
“Meth heads are hyperactive and see things and are paranoid. He’s probably on meth.”
“But how do you know? And isn’t there a middle ground where PCP is actually enjoyable. I doubt every time someone does PCP they are taking off their clothes and fighting police.”
“Siri, what’s PCP like?”
The debate continued as I kept a watchful eye on our suspect.
As some guests were leaving we get to talking about the druggie. He’s within hearing distance but he’s out of it so we keep talking.
“I honestly don’t know anything about what PCP actually is or even what kind of high it gives” answers the guest.
Suddenly the tweaker veers left and heads directly in to our sister restaurant.
“Oh snap..” I say, quickly departing the conversation to handle to the situation.
He’s about eight steps in front of me, approaching a family sitting at the table.
“Hey man, I’m sorry but you can’t be in here.”
He stares at me, puzzled, blank face.
In front of him the family is sitting at the table, four of them surrounding an empty seat with a to go box.
My mind starts to race.
Is that his seat? Is he really sitting with them?
I look at the older man sitting next to the empty seat, trying to understand, looking for a sign.
Is that his dad?
The tweaker points to the food boxed up. I look at the man.
“Is this cool?”
“Yeah, it’s fine” he responds.
“Alright, just making sure.”
I immediately turn and walk out.
_ _ _ _
Maybe he was autistic. Maybe he was on drugs and just under the supervision of his parents. Maybe he was just messing with us.
Regardless, the bar staff and a few guests all made assumptions based off our perspective of the situation, based on our own history experiences, our own thoughts, our own lenses through which we view the world.
All of us were wrong.
We assumed and we were wrong. Obviously this was an extreme situation but.. how many times do you make an assumption, in a variety of situations, and act as if it was concrete? How many times do you think you know and in the end were totally wrong?