It took a second to register. Go home? Well, I actually am looking forward to going home tomorrow, getting some sleep, relaxing over Labor Day. But wait! What about the attitude?
Hey -- it happens all the time, I thought. Just shrug it off. So, confronted with fight or flight, I did what any objective, professionally trained, seasoned journalist would do.
I turned around and went back after him.
"Excuse me," I said, tapping the man on the shoulder as I came up behind him on the sidewalk. "I'm a journalist in town covering the convention. Did you just tell me to 'Go home?'"
"Yes, I did," he said, stopping. "You guys have done a horrible job covering this convention. I'm sick of reading about it."
I got a good look at him. Professional-Dockers dress, close-cropped hair, a button on his shirt with a W-with-a-line-through-it. Thin-rimmed glasses, about my age, holding a cup of Starbuck's and built like he drinks one every morning.
"Fine," I said, "but you don't know me. I'm just a guy walking down the street."
"This convention's the most inconvenient thing I've ever seen," he continued. "Our city's losing money, I can't get anywhere I want to go ... " He turned to walk into what I'm assuming was his workplace.
"Well, I'm sorry this all comes down to you," I said.
He shrugged, and kept moving. "Go home!" he shouted one more time.
I shouted back. "It's called DEMOCRACY, dude!" And I kept walking too. I crossed the street before the light turned red, knowing I'd soon be at my job of (attempting to) fairly present political debate. And he'd soon be at his desk, chuckling over his coffee at the journalist who just doesn't get it.