I still haven’t gotten time to post my Mardi Gras recap, but the sober days of Lent will soon change that. Meanwhile, here are some related experiences:
To a fault, I avoid confrontation. As I’ve noted here before, I sometimes avoid saying what I think or speaking out on important issues because I don’t want to seem smug or ignorant. Now I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but I came relatively close to two fights between Thursday and Monday of Mardi Gras weekend. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not a violent drunk, and I wasn’t bad off either time. I think I’m just mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
The first was at Tip’s for Papa Mali’s show. I’m a sensitive music-goer. Because I’m big, I try to stand closer to the back, and I make sure I don’t take up too much space (cross my arms, don’t flail about, etc). And I’m used to getting bumped into. Unless it’s especially persistent or spirited, I really don’t mind, even if a little beer gets spilled on me or whatever—it’s all just a price of admission. But Thursday this guy starts repeatedly bumping into me from my right. As I’ve done a couple of times, I just decided I wasn’t going to move. I probably outweighed the other guy by 100 pounds, so it wasn’t difficult to hold my ground. Besides, I’d been there a long time and was with a group of people who were tightly packed.
So this guy keeps bumping me, on purpose. Over and over. Then he starts leaning on me, basically trying to push me over. I just kept my arms crossed and my eyes on the show, but he kept pushing. Finally, he turns to me and says, “You got a problem?” He seemed to have thought that because he was bumping into me but I wasn’t moving, it was the same thing as me bumping into him. I calmly corrected his appraisal of the situation, and he got closer to being in my face. I told him not to be stupid, which I realized meant both that he was being stupid about the bumping issue and about getting into the face of someone so much bigger than he. He didn’t have to know that I don’t know shit about fighting.
So I kept staring him down and telling him to back off and not be an idiot. His friends eventually hauled him away, and I went back to enjoying the show. It was out of character for me, but it felt right, if a bit adolescent in retrospect.
My other near-brawl was riding my bike home from Orpheus. I was riding down St. Charles when some drunk college-looking kid pushes over a trash can by the streetcar tracks and is running toward another one. I couldn’t believe what I saw and again decided I didn’t have to put up with it. Unfortunately, I wrecked trying to get onto the streetcar neutral ground where he was.
I yelled at him and asked him what the fuck he was doing. His response: “Why did you wreck your bike?” I told him that was irrelevant (these conversations all sure sound dumb, don’t they?). Anyway, I got in his face and told him he couldn’t do that to my trash cans (this is a point I’m adamant about and that I use when people litter on my streets). He said they weren’t my trash cans, and I told him that they sure were because I fucking live here and he needs to watch his ass. Just then, weirdly, 2 cops came running up and angrily told us to settle down or we were both going to jail. I immediately thought of how E would react if I ended up in jail over something like this on Mardi Gras, and then a couple of women walking by started to tell the cops what the guy had been doing. They started in with him, I took my cue, and made my exit from the scene.
Not exactly ass-kicking stuff, but I’m wondering why I feel like confronting people on these things. Is this a new trend for me? If so, will it spill over into issues of more substance or import? Or is it the effect of too much partying and too little sleep? Either way, you assholes out there better watch out because I’m now a ticking time bomb!