I’m not hot tempered. Never have been. In fact, looking back over my years, I think I can say with absolute certainty that I have never once been in a fight. My fists have never been used, and truth be told, I loathe confrontation. I’ll go miles out of my way, taking the long way around to avoid confrontation. That is, until I see something like I saw this past weekend.
I stood in line for a beer at a local festival here in town, and understanding the normal human trait of courtesy, I got to the back of the line, and waited my turn. As I approached the table, and my number was up, a large, shirtless guy-who probably shouldn’t have been shirtless but that’s a whole other entry-walked right up to me at full speed, stepped in front of me, and ordered his beer. Or beers. I got the feeling he was doubling up, based on his walk.
Before I get too far-the picture of this guy needs to be painted accurately. Sweating profusely, and clearly walking a little wobbly, this wasn’t his first trip to the beer line. And while there is no real way to describe how he actually looked, he was carrying a handful of crazy. His eyes were wide, and it was obvious he wasn’t all there. The guy had a look of being just a shade unhinged. And I probably should have taken that into consideration before I opened my mouth.
Failure to understand common courtesy and blatant disregard for others in social and public settings irks me. It REALLY irks me. Not wanting to cause a scene, but also wanting this guy to know he had irked me and probably the 30 or so people behind me, I merely opened my mouth and uttered two words: “Really guy?” Apparently, when dealing with the unhinged and incredibly intoxicated, it was the spark needed to light the fuse.
He turned around, and looked me up and down with his crazy eyes, and unleashed a torrent of profanity that truth be told, I lost track of somewhere along the lines of “try to regulate” and “what you gonna do.” I turned to my fiancée, who stood next to me, in an attempt to ignore him, and she, as well as the guy behind me both looked a bit dumbstruck at what had just happened. I kept an eye on the guy out of the corner of my eye. I was ready for a random uppercut to the eye, as I assumed his stellar upbringing probably told him such actions were acceptable in this scenario.
He stood there for what seemed like hours, waiting for his beers to be served, because naturally, that’s what he needed. More beer. And surely he was in a hurry to get back-you know, to the Cro-Magnon men he was with who were likely high-fiving over chugging beers and yelling at the women who may or may not have been standing around them. Just as I thought the whole charade was over, he turned to me again. And again, he unleashed another tirade on me as he walked away, calling me any number of names, questioning my manhood, and generally mocking the fact I did nothing to stop him from jumping in front of me. I turned to the guy behind me, who was half smiling at the absurdity of the whole situation now, and he simply uttered, “stupid inbred.” Indeed.
I’ve never been in a fight, and for my streak of 31 years of non-violence to end over something that trivial, well, it would have disappointed me to say the least. And sure, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, and let the idiot go about his idiotic ways. But no, I had to say something. As he walked away, a small part of me felt victorious, as I’d called the guy out on his behavior and his reaction was nothing more than his deep seeded feeling of embarrassment over his actions. At least that’s what I like to think. I’m sure he wandered off into the sunset, leaving a long trail of idiocy in his wake.
I wasn’t out to pick a fight, I swear. I certainly wasn’t trying to get into a fight with someone larger and probably a little more experienced in the fisticuffs department than I. Yet, sometimes, when you see something that’s wrong, you have to say something. And judging by the reaction of the people behind me on this day, there would have been a host of folks willing to jump into the fray. So maybe it’s a good thing crazy eyes walked away, because I’ve never fought in my life. But HE doesn’t know that, right?