I sometimes have to work outside of Dickinson, North Dakota. When I am working out of town, when I get off of work in the evening, I often go to a truck stop/convenience store/restaurant to get something to eat and use my laptop computer to get on the internet.
I bought a spare used laptop computer to take with me when I work out of town, so that it won’t be too much of a loss if it gets broken or stolen, but it is a good computer, worth about $200. It would be upsetting if it got stolen, and I don’t want this to happen.
When I go to the truck stop that I usually go to, I wave hello to the cashiers who are working, and I go put my laptop computer down on a table in the dining area, take my winter jacket off, and lay it over top of my computer so that no one can see it. I then go and pick out a drink, sandwich, or salad, and take them to the cashier to pay for them. My jacket and my computer are not out of my sight for more than thirty seconds at a time, while I am doing this routine.
When I am eating and using my computer, I am vaguely aware of truck drivers, oil field workers, construction workers, farmers, travelers, and local people who are coming and going, paying for fuel, buying things, or sitting down at one of the ten tables in the dining area.
Usually by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., the truck stop/convenience store/restaurant has slowed down, there are not very many customers, and I feel that it is safe enough for me to close my laptop computer, lay my jacket on top of my computer so that it can’t be seen, and go use the bathroom. My jacket is just a common, black color, Carhart hooded jacket like most people in North Dakota wear. Though these Carhart jackets cost $100 to $150, I thought that most North Dakotans would not stoop to stealing someone else’s jacket.
On this past Saturday night at about 9 p.m. I was eating and using my computer, there were two cashiers and one restaurant worker on duty, and only one or two customers in the truck stop. I felt that it was perfectly safe for me to leave my jacket on top of my closed laptop computer, and walk away for two minutes to go use the bathroom. When I got out of the bathroom, I walked over to the restaurant counter to see what they had, and I picked up a Philly cheese steak sandwich.
By this time, it seemed like there were several more customers in the truck stop, because I could hear more people walking around the aisles, though I wasn’t paying close attention. As I was walking over to the cashier to pay for my sandwich, I happened to look back over my shoulder toward where I had been sitting and eating, and I saw a Mexican who was wearing a white T-shirt, walk around the corner, and come to a stop when he saw my winter jacket laying on the table. There were nine empty tables in the dining area, with nothing else around, and one table with my bottled drink, napkins, fork, and jacket sitting on top of it.
I stood turned slightly sideways as I put my sandwich down on the counter, and I said to the cashier who was the manager on duty, this Mexican guy behind me seems to be taking an interest in my jacket. Just as I said this, this Mexican leaned past the wall of the dining area, and looked at my jacket again. The cashier said, oh yeah, I see him. It was pretty hard not to notice, nothing but empty tables in the dining area, and this Mexican guy wearing a white T-shirt, is so focused and concerned about my jacket laying on top of the table.
I went back to my table and sat down. I was now curious to see what this Mexican guy did in the store. Was he going to buy anything to eat, which might have been a possible reason why he came into the empty dining area in the first place. He must have spent at least eight minutes in the store, walking up and down every aisle several times. He bought his son an ice cream from where a Mexican lady was working, and I don’t know if she charged him for it or not, he might not have had any money, because he didn’t buy anything else.
This Mexican guy walked out of the store and he got into about a ten to fifteen year old Dodge sedan, and backed out, almost hitting someone in a Jeep Cherokee who was already travelling in the drive lane, causing them to have to stop suddenly. I asked the cashier/manager if this guy had been in the store before. The cashier/manager said that yes he had, although he kind of looks like a bad person, he probably isn’t that bad a person. This Mexican guy did look and act like someone from a ghetto/hood crime neighborhood in Los Angeles or Phoenix.
Some readers might object to what I am writing, so I will explain. Truck drivers walk into the store at whatever pace or gait they have based on their age or health, pay for fuel, and go use the bathroom. Travelers usually walk in the store quickly and head straight towards the bathroom. Farmers usually aren’t in a hurry and have a casual pace. Local people are like shoppers in a grocery store, they go and pick out the things that they want, like drinks, snacks, or food, and take them up to the cash register.
This Mexican guy, who had been in this store before, came in to the store and acted completely different and out of the ordinary. He walked quickly over to something like this is what he was there to get, paused, then quickly walked over to something else like this is what he was there to get, paused, then quickly walked over to another area, paused, and he did this throughout the store for at least eight minutes. You might say well, he was looking for something, or he didn’t like the prices. At one point, he was at the drink dispensing machine, where they have the cups, lids, straws, napkins, and people fill their drink cups, he was acting like he was going to get a drink, but he didn’t. It was like he was pretending to shop, but he was actually up to something else.
If you have ever set something down for just a minute and walked away, like a phone, set of keys, wallet, purse, jacket, ice chest, gas can, propane tank, bicycle, or left your car running, and come back to find it gone, I think that this is how this happens, and who does this.
In North Dakota, at a restaurant, bar, store, library, truck stop, laundromat, or any public place, do not set anything down and turn your back on it or walk away. Not everyone is the same in North Dakota, and you might be unpleasantly surprised at how “diverse”, North Dakota has become.