The Salt Shooter

Sometimes things happen to me that leave me wondering if I’m the one who is crazy and every one else is normal. But this time, my friend was with me, which meant I wasn’t alone in wondering if I was losing it.

So what happened is the woman behind us in line was holding a gun, pointing it up in the air, pretending to shoot it. Her movements were jittery. She seemed nervous with shifty eyes. My friend whispered to me, “It’s fake. Look at the orange cap”.  I found that reassuring even though it was pretty obvious it was one of those big nerf gun blasters.

At this particular cafe, there’s a really loud fan that blows when the door is open—I’m guessing to keep the flies out—and the counter is right there when you walk in. So if there are more than like two people in line, the door ends up open with the fan on. It’s not the best layout.  And, so, the woman with the nerf gun was behind us propping the door open making the fan blow loud warm air at us. The odd thing was nobody else seemed to notice anything amiss.  It was as if the fan, with it’s loud warm air, was making the whole scene disappear for everyone except my friend and me. We kept looking at each other while also keeping an eye on the woman with the gun in case she did anything crazier than stand there aiming her gun in the air.  Then, out of the blue she asked us “What am I supposed to do next?” like she forgot her script and she rambled something about shooting salt. I stood there kind of frozen like did I just hear something about shooting salt? Whereas my friend, who was thinking much faster, said with authority, “You’re supposed to hand that to me next!” and she reached for the gun. I was shocked to watch how easily my friend did that and how fast the woman responded. I mean, she just handed it over to her. Frankly she seemed almost relieved to be done with it. My friend continued to hold it muzzle down, with one eye on the woman, looking a bit like she’d just taken the nerf gun from one of her boys who was now on a “time out” for shooting her other boy in the face. Her expression was of thorough disappointment, not fear. I just stood there wondering what am I supposed to do next?

Eventually, the woman shifted her attention outside and my friend leaned over, discretely placing the nerf gun (as discretely as possible given its size) behind the register and quietly but firmly told the cashier to keep it back there, as there was “someone mentally unstable trying to shoot salt with it”.

The crazy thing was the barista’s blase attitude “Oh. That’s our salt shooter,” he said. “Excuse me?” my friend asked. We didn’t know if he meant the girl or the gun was their salt shooter… but he clarified “We use it for salt”. “That thing?” my friend asked. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s a salt shooter”. “Well, she’s not okay. You might call 911 if she comes back in” my friend explained, still genuinely concerned for her health. “OK” he said, shrugging his shoulders. By now we were fully aware, he was on the same thing as our salt shooter. Bemused, we left the cafe with coffees in hand, wondering if maybe we were the crazy ones?


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