The Battle of March 10th, 2012: An Unlikely Tribute (Part I)

"Woah, look who's circumcised," M wise-cracked to some guy pissing on a tree as we strolled down the warm downtown pavement of San Luis Obispo after midnight. It was Friday night and the streets were crowded with excessively well-dressed college students and non-collegiate twenty-somethings, teeter-tottering all over town, and the cowboys and marines were out in abundance.

A few steps later and we realized that the guy to whom Mike had commented, hadn't quite liked being commented-to. "What'd you say, faggot?! Wanna come back and say that to my face? My pants are zipped-up now, so come on back here!"

The guy had a relatively slight-build and was hardly taller than my own 5'7, and since he seemed to have some friends around I wrote his comments off to saving-face, trying to ignore their loathsome content. Glancing back but without stopping I spoke up before anyone else could and called back, "Hey don't worry about it, he pees on trees all the time! We got nothing but love for you over here! He was just kidding; have a good night."

Unfortunately, the dude ignored me and continued to catcall M. After about five more seconds of the taunts he said something extra douchey (god-knows-what exactly, now) and both R and I turned back simultaneously because it was suddenly not okay to still be walking away. Admittedly a little pissed-off by now -- mostly because this was the second all-balls-out, proud-to-be-an-asshole, hyped-up-on-testosterone-type-brain-damaged dude of the night -- still my plan was to diffuse the situation, thinking I could do this by calling the guy on his challenge in a de-railing sort of way, since it wasn't exactly me he was inviting.

So I turned back around. And I started strutting back to him. Half-grinning and using a faux-masculine voice, I hit my chest with my hands as I walked toward him and announced, "What? You think you can take me? I'll take you right now, unless you're scared to hit a girl, huh?!"

I could see it in his eyes as I performed my little diversion, trying to break the ice-cold tension in the suddenly-not-so-warm air: a flicker of doubt as his eyes shifted to me, back to M and R, and then to me again. Before he could say anything in response, two of his friends stepped up to his confused defense and started to tell me not to mess. One was a pretty worried looking, cute girl; the other was a tall, blonde guy who was either sneering or smiling, depending upon the angle - I'm not even sure he knew the difference.

The worried girl started to say something to the effect of, "Listen, please don't make this an issue," to which I smiled a bit bewilderedly and replied with something to the effect back of, "Hey, I just wanted to lighten up the situation. Your friend was making it an issue; I was just trying to diffuse it..." But then out of far right field came Ultra-Douche-Bag-Friend-#3.

Like the tree-pissing-guy this one was only about my height as well, or maybe just a bit taller, but he had a much broader chest and shoulders. Looked like a gym-junkie with a buzz-cut and reeked of alcohol and military-affiliation. (Not that military-affiliation necessarily has to reek, but in this case it certainly did just that.) This guy stepped-up for real, and shit got real serious, real fast.

"Why don't you and your hippy-ass friends turn the fuck around and get the fuck back out of town, you long-haired, hippy-ass skank! You're not welcome here, you ugly hippy bitch! So step down, stop antagonizing, and get the fuck outta here!" And so on and so forth. Rather than coming up with more material, the drunken grunt just kept up with more of the same, clearly being used to intimidate folks into submission with his size and volume. Instead, feeling the shift in the air turn to serious, and hearing the change in the conversation turn into a challenge that just became impossible to laugh off, my body went still and my ears began to buzz.

Half-incredulous, half-deadly sure of myself, I stayed exactly where I was even when the dude got too close, and I stared into his eyes until he stopped talking. When he did, I said without raising my voice, "Are you fucking kidding me? Antagonizing? Your friend runs his mouth and when we try to make light of it you start talking shit like we're the ones turning this into a fight? So if it's a fight now, then quit talking shit and hit me already. I dare you. Go ahead. I'm a domestic violence lawyer; I see pieces of shit like you everyday. Go ahead, do it. I'll take your ass to court so fucking fast--"

Frankly, I don't even know where I was going with that line of discourse; what I do know is that at that point I absolutely wanted him to hit me, but I also knew that he wouldn't. Because his rage was pretend, and mine was all-too-real. I wanted him to ride out his stupid, pretend rage, so that I could then destroy his real life after the fact, in the real world, and put an end to his stupid game. It's not okay to be an asshole indefinitely, or to get your way at all costs to anyone else; he'd figure that out one day, might as well be tonight, right?

But then, there was a reason I stopped talking. Out of the corner of my eye, the very last friend, who I'd been totally unaware of up until that point, came out of the woodwork. This one was tall and barrel-chested and so drunk that he could no longer walk in a straight line - assuming this was ever a strong point. Without saying a single word, he up-and-charged M, who was still standing just a bit behind me with R.

Apparently M was less surprised by this turn of events than anyone else, however, because he turned around and booked it, and the chase was on. All along every one of the leftover friends - even my personal favorite, Mr. Hippy-Ass-Skank-Steeze - were calling out to the drunken charger to stop, and R turned and ran after M and Mr. Blackshirt-Asshole-Raucous-Friend-#4.

Still not totally out of my first movie, I started to follow R, but not before turning back to my original assailant and the others to reiterate, "Oh yeah? And now your friend is fucking chasing my boyfriend?! Who's antagonizing now, huh? Now who's being the fucking aggressor?" and addressing the now-altogether-terrified and only other female present, I said with genuine frustration, "What the fuck are you hanging out with these assholes for?" And then I turned around again to run to where the chase had been happening, but had just prematurely ended with the drunk guy running hard into two different poles - which M had almost casually weaved around - before falling into the street with a bloody nose and god knows what else...


-L (3/10/12)

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