Sushi, wild-eyed Socialists and the pursuit of happiness: How to start a bar fight!
It all started with a phone call. "Let's get together tonight because you sound like you need a night out. You haven’t been yourself lately."
This dear, sweet woman, who is my closest friend, always feels everyone is secretly suffering in some way or another and in need of cheering up but this time it was no secret, I did need a release! It was the kindness in the offer that made me consider it and not the fact that this time she finally guessed correctly about me needing an escape from my current marital drama and the pressure of appearing "all together."
Since the death of my personal "free" time, at the hands of adult responsibility (children), going out in the middle of the week seemed foreign, forbidden even, so I hesitated. "We can go to this place downtown. They have $2 sushi after 9PM," she says and I wonder aloud what we can do while we wait since I don’t want to just eat and then come home. If I am going to get away for awhile it had better be for more than just an hour or two! We decide to meet at a nearby lounge where we can talk, lament, bitch, moan and ultimately feel cleansed of mental demons even for just a few hours. This is where the real story begins…
The actual sequence of events is a little hazy but I will start first with the semi-lecture I received about “choices, relationships, dying commitments and finding fulfillment.” I nodded and sipped my drink and nodded some more until I got, “You aren’t even listening to me are you?” I was listening but I had already decided I didn’t feel bad, was plenty comfortable with my choices of late and already knew what I needed to do to find my new road to fulfillment. Simple, sip, sip, sigh! She wasn’t smiling but instead was looking at me like I had lost my mind. This expression changed after she took a few sips herself. Funny how that works huh? Now, I took the time to fully and clearly express how I believed that life inserts certain "situations" in front of you for a reason and some are lessons in disguise and this just reinforces the need to continue on the road to personal happiness. To lighten my worry-wart friend's mood and assure her all was well I told a few jokes about how the guys around us probably thought we were evil prowling cougars on the hunt for young meat!
After sitting and chatting for about an hour I looked up to see two familiar faces from my days in mental health walk in and once happy greetings and hugs were exchanged we had two new conversation buddies. “Hey, how have you been? You haven’t changed a bit.” I think I have changed a lot in the past 6 years but they insisted otherwise so I didn’t argue. We engaged in chit-chat about former co-workers and what they are doing now and somehow the conversation shifts to Obama, Socialism and the economy. The friend I originally came with can be described as conservative with a Libertarian bent and when she wants to make her point she usually does so loudly, just for clarification purposes mind you and not to intimidate. So, we have a playful back and forth amongst those at our table and it is a calm and thoughtful conversation until we hear, slurred, from another table, “What the hell did you say about Socialism?” My friend responded that it was a private conversation and didn’t appreciate the intrusion but our new “guest” wanted to debate so he was invited over.
Mistake #1: Don’t encourage a drunk to debate anything in a political or religious vein with you…especially when he is an obvious “lonely guy/virgin/geek carrying a huge chip on his shoulder against women, rich people, perceived conservatives and generally anyone else not living on his commune.”
Mistake #2: Don't ask said drunk if "Mommy and Daddy" are paying for his college education when he makes a blanket statement about the "privileged" in society...that is when the war starts! I didn't do that; my friend did just to clarify.
Mr. Narrow-Minded/Grunge Throw-Back/Childhood Issues started with the “you don’t understand” jab and then went to the defensive, “let me speak” sucker punch which didn’t work well. I got up to make a quick phone call and use the facilities and when I came back this sad little boy (he claimed he was 22 but looked about 15) was in my chair screaming at my friend about rich people and how life is so unfair because those who "have not" get taken advantage of and blah, blah, blah. The waitress was asking if they should be told to leave and all I wanted was for this prick to get out of my chair so I could finish my drink and most importantly... to shut the hell up with his blatant prejudiced and uneducated statements. So, I say..."You sound jealous and bitter." He got all huffy and screamed that we were all the "Haves" and were raised with silver spoons in our mouths and thus incapable of having an intelligent conversation about social issues! Hilarious since I grew up in a lower class financial situation and no one in our group owns a yacht or has a trust fund that I know of! He stalked off and we laughed heartily saying that he needed to lighten the hell up and start speaking from true facts rather than out of his ass.
We go back to our chit-chat and I look over and see the little boy just stewing and muttering things to his friends so I got up and went over to his table. "Let me tell you something." I started and he looked like he thought I was going to punch the shit out of him because he was all wide-eyed and shaky. I asked if I could sit down and he said I could so I began to tell him that it is a sad thing to see someone so young so out of touch with the world around him and so weighed down by obvious anger, misinformation and damaging prejudice. I did the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" thing, let him know that I grew up pretty much poor and that if one wants to be heard they have to understand what they are saying, state it intelligently rather than full of bias and yelling their opinion doesn't make it true nor is it an effective communication skill. The response? He started crying and told me about his mother working 3 jobs and how his dad left and then he had to live with his grandmother...it just all came rambling out and I got a mental picture of what a potential serial killer may start out as. This was another reason why I went over to talk to him...I did not want him adding me to a "victim" collage, pasted on the back side of his closet door!
I came back to our table and the first thing my friend said was, "What were you doing? You weren't apologizing for me were you?" "Heavens no," I said. "You don't need my help but that guy was one tweak away from going out and getting a gun to "settle" things!" She hadn't thought about that and after a while, after things had calmed down and we went back to talking about other topics like homosexuality and gay marriage she decided to go over and try to make amends with the sad little boy herself. I went back to talking with my old work friends and after about 10 minutes I glance over and the little boy looks happy and is laughing but he also has an odd look on his face and is sitting with his legs crossed tight! I look closer and instead of looking at my friend's face when she is talking to him he is looking directly into her ample cleavage. It was time to break up this odd little UN meeting because I sensed it may give this guy an inflated sense of ego and the first time he waltzes up to a good-looking woman and gets shot down we are right back to climbing the clock tower with an assault rifle!
Standing in front of this freaky scene I say in my best "voice of reason" tone, "Let's go eat sushi like we planned." Oh, right! So much for my night out.