There are many things that may age you; even more that are classified with “coming of age”. Two weekends ago I think I experienced both those things. First on Saturday, I saw my first fight up close with the blood and sweat and petty emotions. On Sunday I almost got in my first fight – petty emotions also included. For a girl who spends a large chunk of her Saturday nights with a stack of books and successive bowls of mint chocolate ice cream, this was an eventful weekend – and did I mention I turned 21 on the Sunday?
But I have used my old trick of giving you a taste of the punch line with no story (this is how I rope my brother into my “boy problems” stories). Well, it all came about because that weekend was indeed Halloween weekend. I may not be one to party hardy but I will take any excuse to dress up, and it seems as the years go on those opportunities become fewer and farther between. So Saturday night was the big party in the city I live in. Hundreds of people come out to what is called the “Monster Mash”, usually already drunk and ready to become even more so in attempts to seduce one of those slutty fairies, fish, elves, pumpkins, cats, giraffes, angels, etc (really, the list wouldn’t end. There were even three slutty deviled eggs). I am consistently sober in these intoxicated situations, but I have a rule that if I am not having fun sober that I should not be there. So at 11:30 p.m., I wasn’t having fun and I was sitting outside waiting for my ride dressed as an Escaped Barbie (with the wires on like I had ripped from the box – it was funnier in person). Not twelve inches from where I was sitting, two guys who looked to be friends were suddenly in negotiations of who was going to throw the first punch. The one guy claimed to not know what the fight was about, but he also didn’t walk away. As I quickly collected my Barbie accessories and shuffled to the side, fists were shoved into faces, knees into crotches, elbows into ribs, and then a guy was down and getting blood and spit pounded out of his face. Luckily I had attracted two other guys while sitting outside (nothing like a dressed up single girl all alone that brings out the heroic in the inebriated) who eventually ran over and separated the others. My ride showed up within the next five minutes and I went to bed thinking that fights in real life look just like they do in the movies.
The next day was my birthday, and that night I went to a concert by Sam Roberts with my sister and some pals. We made sure we were there early and rushed to be at the very front, right by the stage. Half-way through “Fixed to Ruin” my sister and friend were slammed into me with a look of apologetic shock on their faces. Two verses later the same guy was leaning all his weight on my friend as she tried to push back. I like to think I am a relatively peaceful person. In high school I heard it said that people knew they had done something really wrong if I was angry about it. I like to live up to that reputation. On that note, I must have been born with a justice complex; and in that moment when some sweaty, drunk, long-haired dude was impressing his weight on the passive back of my friend - I had had enough. So I shoved him back into his group of slobbering friends, and when he rammed into us again I pushed him right back. The effectiveness of this strategy is questionable, but every time he would lurch forward and fly into us, I would use all the strength I had to fly him away from us again. You might say, “Well, what did you expect being in the front?”, but it wasn’t that everyone was moshing and we were the only ones wanting to chastely bob to the music; it was only that guy and his two bleary eyed friends who continued to disrespect the people around them by attacking them in their drunken fervor. In my opinion, I paid for the ticket (or rather, my Mom did as a birthday present. Thanks, Mom) and I should be able to enjoy the concert from wherever and in whatever fashion I choose. Those guys have the same right, if they wanted to thrash around dancing, that’s their prerogative; when they start moving out of their own space and wrecking the experience for others – that’s when I get mad.
It’s a funny thing when you express your anger in aggressive actions. I can see why people get into fights and like fights. Every time that that guy slammed me forward, my shove back was stronger. and with more impact, and more satisfaction in some deep part of me. Maybe it had just been a couple of rough weeks with a lot of stresses that I could not control, and this was just transferred anger; but by the end of the concert my mind was daring this wreck of a guy to push me one more time – ONE MORE TIME. I wanted to throw a punch. I wanted to mess him up.
Well, maybe it was divine providence, or maybe I really did intimidate him enough that he wasn’t going to bother us anymore. Either way, the last five songs of Sam Roberts we were able to enjoy at our own pace. I was glad that I had finally “won”, but still pretty annoyed that I had to spend the majority of this experience bracing myself against attacks and distractions from the wonder and thrill of live music. I was surprised at myself for wanting to get in a fight so bad - maybe in the end I wanted to teach humanity a lesson, but honestly, it would have sufficed to just teach that one drunk a lesson.