Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Strange Thing Happened While Leaving the Bar

A strange thing happened while leaving the bar. We left the Lava Lounge and headed down East Carson for the Moose. To our left, out of some deep shadows, emerged a woman looking to be about 45 years old. Blond perm, nondescript clothing. She was clutching a purse. She was drunk, at minimum, if not also high on something. Her eyes were glassy, and she was semi-coherent. There was a pack of frat boys in front of us. As soon as she emerged, they fled, as I’m sure they could tell that she didn’t bring good news. So she latched onto my wife, and said, “He’s going to beat me.” There was nobody around. She pointed down the street in the direction that we were walking, at a fat-looking Italian guy, average height, also about 45 to 50-ish. He was almost a full block ahead of us. My immediate thought was, “If she’s concerned that he’s going to beat her, why is she following him?” She was very nearly in hysterics. I positioned myself between the two of them, and my wife began to coach the woman. She suggested that she simply walk the other way, or dart into a bar and ask the bartender to call the police. She wouldn’t do that. My wife offered her use of her cell phone to call police. She wouldn’t do that. She said she lived in Ohio, and needed him to give her a ride home. As we approached a very busy, well-lit intersection in the middle of the Southside, he had stopped, turned around and was waiting. As we got closer, he said curtly, “We’re parked over here.” He gestured into a parking lot. She went over to him, looked back at us, and said, “Call 911.” They walked over to a car I assume was theirs and started quarreling. We made no phone calls, and just kept walking. I wondered if I was supposed to insert myself into that situation, and find myself getting mugged at gun- or knife-point. I wondered if she was out of her mind on a very bad trip. I wondered if this was her way of trying to get back at him for something. I wondered if she was sincere. If I called the police, I would sound ridiculous telling them the story. I never saw him do anything violent, or even heard him say anything violent. I really had no reason to suspect that he was a hostile or abusive guy except for the ramblings of this semi-coherent drunk woman. I felt badly, but absolutely unsure of what I should do or should have done. I just don’t understand why she would have been following him, if she was scared of him. Any time I’ve ever been that sincerely scared of something in my life, I’ve always gone the other way.

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