The moment I entered Cigar Masters’ walk-in humidor, The Most Beautiful Jewish Woman in the World™ slipped in behind me and informed me that I was persona non grata. I don’t think I was banned because of the Glock 19 sitting proud on my hip. Truth be told, I’d expressed some romantic interest in the erstwhile Cigar Queen—who rebuffed me like an auto restorer ministering to an abandoned ’57 Chevy. It might not have been that either; other customers had made “complaints” about me. Apparently. Socially inept? Moi? Anyway, not to coin a phrase . . .
I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. More to the point, again, I don’t think the Cigar Masters of the Universe shunned me as a shock Glock. But I have a sneaking suspicion that open carrying a firearm into the tony not to say exclusive establishment did nothing to help me avoid banishment.
The worst part: the Most Intelligent Woman in the Universe™ interpreted the ban as proof positive that I’m a creep. Ipso facto. She texted “thanks for the warning.” In terms of character appraisal, our time together—some of it more than slightly intimate—counted for naught.
I found that disheartening. I’ve been trying to introduce MIW to the way of the gun. She shot the SP101 .22 and almost kinda liked it. So almost much so that she started studying for the multiple choice test for a RI Blue Card (necessary to purchase a firearm). Great. I’d been helping arm someone quick to conclude I’m a creep. Equally, bummer. Equally, I’m having a hard time not seeing myself as a weirdo with a gun.
Disclaimer: I’m not a weirdo with a gun. I’m a non-violent, law-abiding American who believes deeply and completely that U.S. citizens have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I am a single father protecting his daughter. Both her life and her right to defend herself with a firearm when she assumes that responsibility for herself.
That said, open carry is weird. Check out that pre-Cigar Masters picture above. I was at a busy country farm stand with Lola. I sensed a very odd vibe, defused (I hope) by my respectful and friendly banter with the staff. The same kind of banter that got me banned? God I hope not. But I look at the snap, wondering why the Hell I hadn’t shaved that morning. Or had my hair cut. Or wore less creased shorts. Or left the sunglasses in the car.
No ’bout a doubt it: open carry is changing me as a person. Open carry forces me to see myself from other people’s perspective; to ask myself who am I as a man. I like what I see, even though others can’t see it. Some of them only see the gun.
“You’re the only person I’ve ever met who’s not law enforcement or military that carries a gun in the open,” my new cigar purveyor Stefano told me. What does that tell you? That the thousands of RI Pistol Permit holders are way more sensible than I am? That I’m blazing a trail for gun rights? That I’m an outlier who’s made himself an outcast, indicating asocial tendencies? All of the above?
Hell if I know. All I know is my new cigar lounge has a pool table. I’ve found a place where I can play pool, smoke a cigar and carry a firearm on my hip. Where people ask sensible, respectful questions about my choice to open carry without getting all hinky about it. An emporium where the police from the cop shop around the corner hang on a regular basis.
Now that could be interesting. As for my love life, meh. Firearms are a large part of who I am and what I do, now. It’s take it or leave it and it cuts both ways.
Litmus test? Oh yes, open carry is a litmus test.