Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bad Apple(s)

The scar engraved on my right hip is not much to look at. Two centimeters in diameter with some black and blue blotches in the surrounding area. Beneath the surface, the muscles in my thigh feel twisted and sore like I've been violently shoved across a hard club floor.

Oh, funny story..
Last night I was violently shoved across a hard club floor. My very first bar fight. I guess it was more of fight between this checkered-shirt-wearing white guy and his relationship problems, but apparently its more fun to assault people than see a therapist. Let me recount the experience in extravagant detail...

At the Starlight Ballroom I was fascinated by the lighting arrangement. A dozen smart-lights projected brilliant purples and greens across the arms of a hundred dancing bodies. Swirling lights arranged on strings created a "firefly swarm" affect above the crowd, giving the environment a magical feel. I ignored the music and danced instead with the visuals.
Meanwhile, in a completely separate reality, a guy was having an emotional discussion with his girlfriend, of which I was completely oblivious. But as I gazed around the room, he saw me, and shouted, "Get the fuck away!"

I smiled. Some people get violent when they're drunk, I get amused. "Hey man, its all good" I reassured him, and put my hand on his shoulder to get the guy to relax. Subtext: I'm not the enemy.

Very shortly after this tactful display of friendliness I found my self flying for several seconds before crashing down on my hip and sliding three feet across the floor. Fortunately I had some cushioning: Three glasses of whiskey and coke from pregaming, along with whatever beer I'd had at the bar so far. It was better than Tylenol: I felt nothing.

From the ground I lobbed my beer at him, missing wildly and firing the bottle off into the darkness; miller light fanning in every direction. Leaping back to my feet I took a good look at what I was dealing with. The guy was taller than me, but aside from the girlfriend bear-hugging his stomach and his his arms out to the side in a typical "What?? What?!??" posture, he didn't really look like the type of meat-head who'd start fights at a club. He resembled 20 other guys at this place with their buttoned down shirts and groomed facial hair. He didn't even look unstable. His eyes glared with a genuine contempt, as if I truly were the source of his problems. His face formed the kind of vehemence usually reserved for someone who just keyed your car or fucked your mom. I flashed another unconcerned smile, and mocked his posture while clucking my mouth, making strange noises.
And then I walked away.

Hey, if the guy wanted to get in a fight, he didn't need my help.

I feel that most violence is based on misdirected sexual frustration. If people would get their sexual issues under control we'd live without unreasonable conflict. We didn't go to Iraq because of oil. We went because Cheney won't acknowledge his preference for tranny pornography. Or something like that. I mean the man has "closet sexual deviant" written all across his miserable scowl.

Anyways, after dancing for another 15 minutes, the music stopped and we were informed that some guy had just pushed a bouncer, in effect drawing the rage of six other bouncers and the attention of the police who had arrived to haul his ass to jail for assault. Of course I can't be certain, but if I had to take an intelligent guess I'd say I wasn't the last guy that dude felt like pushing that night. Can anyone confirm that the guy arrested was tall, white, possessing a checkered shirt and unresolved sexual issues? Let me know.

I ended up getting home at around 4:50, just in time to witness two extremely drunk guys fighting outside my apartment. One was wielding a traffic cone.
"So, uhhh.. do you guys need help?" I didn't know what to say, it didn't look like either guy was losing. They could barely stand up, much less fight properly. One of the guys stared at me. "FUCK YOUUUU" he drooled awkwardly. I told him I was calling the police and watched as they limped away, still grappling with each other.

I'm starting to wonder. Is this philly? Are we a part of some bitter, aggressive culture where the first assumption made when two people meet is that the other person is the enemy? I feel like I've seen far too many people who take themselves too seriously, see every stranger as competition, and feel that the point of every interaction is about defending their fragile egos. Certainly most people aren't like this, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that the bitter, anti-social, bad apples are overrepresented in this city.
Shit, I dunno, what do you guys think?


- Seg


ADK said...

First time reading your blog, and yeah, this city is full of aggressively defensive people. I don't really know what it is all about, but the need people have to 'big time' one another or go to DEFCON 5 whenever they've had two beers and someone makes eye contact with them never ceases to amaze me.

seg said...

Good to know I'm not the only one.

I guess this is the big question: is this a product of Philly, of cities in the east, or of urban culture in general?
Hopefully someone who has had experience living in other major cities can clear this up..

Chuck said...

Remember, I fled Philly - not to hate. But, yes, this is Philly. That is a good description of Philly. Sorry, but true. fONk

di1 said...

I don't think it has anything specifically to do with Philly at all. Maybe the North East, definitely alcohol but not specifically Philly.

Chuck said...

Er, okay, well, let's say the upshot is - the art is so much realer in Philadelphia because of stuff like this

Anonymous said...

I've lived in london all my life and its exactly the same here, its not america, philly, england or london- unfortunately there are pricks everywhere.

seg said...

Thanks for balancin this out. I might have gotten a little carried away. And theres more than enough great people in Philly to balance out the few assholes that pop up anyways.

Steve said...

This was the dumbest thing I have ever ever read... If two dogs were fighting in the street would you stick your hand in front of their mouths to get them to stop? Not only did you do it once, but twice... Yes this is Philly and if you don't like shit like this don't live in a city like this. Regardless if that dude was an idiot which he is you sound even dumber. If I saw you wondering around "dancing with the lights" I would knock you the fuck out just for being retarted. Welcome to Philadelphia you fucking suburban douche

seg said...

I actually consider that night out a good one. I'm looking to confront conflict, not avoid it. Otherwise my posts are all going to be, "The night started out slow, but then we got drunk and went to a club, and we had lots of fun, and my friend fell down, hahahahaha"
Anyways, I have a plan for dealing with dudes like that in the future. If it works, or fails miserably, well, you can look forward to another post that yall can dig into.