Reader traildude writes:
While I was working, human passage on the path — we didn’t dignify it by calling it a trail yet — was single-file. So out of politeness and in hopes of watching more donations to our project plop into the jar screwed to the nearest support post, I greeted each person with a smile as they all descended. I had two tools at hand, one in my hands to pound at ballast as another volunteer dumped it, the other on my hip in accordance with the old motto, “be prepared.”
Then the line of eager beachgoers halted. I felt the glare before I saw it, and looked up to behold a woman’s face contorted in disgust at the sight of the tool on my hip. She recognized the shiny Ruger .357 snuggled in its place on my belt in the same way I recognized a fresh dog dropping found by kneeling on it in the flower bed, something unwanted, fit to be disposed of.
“Why would you wear that… thing?!” she exclaimed — or something to that effect. “Out where regular people can see it?!!!”
But her son had my response time beat.
The woman glared at her son, glowered at me, stomped her foot, and moved on. My eyes met the boy’s and we exchanged a solemn fist-bump before he skipped down the clay slope with a grin.
“Pizza”, I thought, and shook my head. It would take too long to arrive; the ballast would be set before then so I settled for a granola bar and a cold beer. After all, when something is really important, it’s response time that really matters, isn’t it?