He was performing on the street at the Wilhelmsplatz in Heidelberg, Germany, before a medium-sized crowd of maybe thirty or forty people. I’m not a fan of mimes; I don’t find them funny in the least. But I always stop to watch the various street artists. They make for a pleasant evening and are a part of big city culture. So I stood in the back, my arms crossed, a look of bored dismissal on my face, and let him carry on his predictable antics.
As mimes go, he wasn’t that bad. So I hung around longer than I’d originally intended.
Long enough for him to notice me. He began taking furtive glances in my direction. I knew what he was thinking: I was someone he would need to harass. I was obviously a target for him, which made me smirk a bit. At last he broke from his routine and wended his way through the audience. I dropped my grin and returned to my former stoicism, waiting for him. He stopped before me, stuck his face three inches from mine and glared at me. We locked eyes and held each other’s gaze for a full minute. My demeanor and posture did not change. Not so much as a muscle twitch. I stood ramrod stiff, unblinking. Deadpan. The crowd watched us, expectant. Then they began to laugh. At last, defeated, with a barely discernible shrug, he turned and made his way back to his post.
They should have given me a few of his donations.