Frozen Bullies Just Lying in the RoadA couple of nights ago, one of Tash's coworkers threatened to bludgeon her with the telephone. Not in the flirtatious "nah-I-was-just-playin'" faux violence that restaurant staff everywhere engage in to while away a slow night. Apparently he wrapped the phone cord from the hostess stand around his hand and lunged at her with the handset held high, backing Tash into a tiny corner. She was hiding and then in like a second he just burst into maniacal laughter, trying to play like it was all a joke.
As the boyfriend, I really felt that something had to be done. What, I had no idea.
As mentioned before, I get a lot of mileage out of my size, so much that I haven't been in a fight since middle school. Nevertheless, I leapt onto my bike and hit the pavement. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just up and punch somebody in their face. Now that the door was wide open, I wasn't so sure I wanted to go through.
The temperature dropped about thirty degrees in as many minutes that night. Two rats lay dead in the street with no visible trauma to their nasty little bodies. It was as though they thought they had the go-ahead to get out and advance their nasty little rat causes around, to go ahead and jump in the trash and spread some serious disease...but the cold snap stopped them in their tracks.
An avalanche of ass-kicking fantasies quickly filled those two rat-sized holes in my train of thought. I caught myself hoping that the offending waiter would be standing outside with a cigarette and I could somehow use the downhill momentum from by bike to just leap right over the handlebars, using my body like a missile. I think I got that idea from a Wolverine comic book, and it seemed to work pretty well for him.
As I crested the hill near my house, I realized that I had no idea what to do. I figured the situation was one of two things:
1) This waiter was completely psychotic and while he was willing to threaten a girl with a telephone when nobody was looking, he really wanted a guy a bit bigger than him to tangle with, maybe to stick with a homemade knife.
2) He was just another adult bully who would strike when conditions were just right, but quickly revert to scurrying around in the shadows when somebody called him out.
I sort of knew this guy. If Gollum from Lord of the Rings could speak Hindi, you'd about have him. As my bike raced towards the restaurant, wind roaring in my frozen ears, both alternatives flickered in my mind,
sort of like that.
Man, I didn't wanna get into it with this guy...I could feel my role in the situation being reduced down to that of a predictable player in a lame movie, as the great big boyfriend that's gonna come and blow a bunch of hot air real hard. Meanwhile, Tash was still at work dealing with her crappy job and this creep.
I just charged into the restaurant, asked her if she was okay and if I needed to go have a word with him. I did.
I sat at the bar, shaking inside while I waited for it all to happen. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around I got blasted with the most aggressive bootlicking I've ever had in my life.
He grabbed my hand and furiously pumped it up and down, going "sorry, I am so sorry, you know me and you know how sorry that I am, I don't know what came over me and I was just kidding around and she went crazy and took it wrong," and that last bit is what really pissed me off.
I dropped my other hand on his shoulder and said "man, I think we both know exactly what happened, and I think we both know whose side I'm on here. I think you know how I feel about it, too. We're on the verge of having a serious problem here."
He assured me that he had already been fired. Good. It's tough when you're an illegal alien and you have a job--because no matter how crappy it is, you really don't want to get fired. That seemed an apt enough punishment.
"Well, I'm sorry you lost your job, man, and best of luck to you. But I'm really sorry you're the kind of person that gets himself fired by threatening girls when nobody's looking." He scurried off.
Tash and I walked home, exhilarated from all the confrontation. We laughed too long and too loud about bullies over some beers at the pub down the street. We toasted to bullies, and how they usually get what's coming to them without anyone having to go too far out of their way to deliver karma's punishment.
The next time someone treats you that wrong, bullies you and has you sputtering with rage, think of those rats. They came from a filth-encrusted sewer to enjoy spreading misery for a moment or two...then froze to death right there in the street. I think of the people that have done me wrong in the recent past, and I think of what miserable little creeps they are, bullies whose only true joy can come from offloading their ambient misery. And from now on, before I ball up my fist and hand that wrong back, I'm going to try and remind myself that the temperature's dropping and those nasty little rats are on their way out....