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Friday, March 16, 2012

they really are vikings


So I am on my knees scrubbing hard at the bathroom floor. There are globules of chocolate dotting its concrete surface, stuck here and there comets thrown with great energy and anger. My head aches and hurts, my eyes ring with dizziness and I feel slightly tired, sick in fact. 

A few hours previously my housemate came to ask me for something or maybe they didn’t that’s how bad I was feeling, that am not sure if my drunken sleep was interrupted or am just using that as a story device to describe the extent of my malaise. During this fact or fiction wake up I shrugged him  away groggy, glum and unresponsive.

My day has been dotted with walks to the toilet for a piss, something that thankfully took me past the bathroom where there was a pizza cooked (store bought and oven warmed, the best kind) and pork dumplings that I lovingly pigged into my mouth as I nursed yet another European hangover.

In Europe I will get hangover. It doesn’t matter what I do, a headache follows a night out, Friday I didn’t drink a thing and woke up Saturday with the left part of my head aching and throbbing, maybe my head just misses its soil.

The night before had been one of those that you don’t write home about. Too much to drink, too fast and two fingers become four and suddenly there’s chocolate all over the bathroom floor. But it was also one of those nights where the chocolate wasn’t the most interesting story.

We had left the house early to go get in cheap at the club, come back home, get drunk and go back. We come home and there’s a scene on the road in front of us, there’s someone crying, sobbing and wailing. She’s surrounded by some people and we go close to find out what’s going on, see if our help will be needed. Standing in the middle of the road is a girl whose body has been wrapped around by her comforter, she’s not too drunk and there’s other people around, a situation that looks to be in control.

We passed the entrance to our house so we walk on nonchalantly since we don’t want to look too nosy. We find a party going on but lose the nerve to crash it, plus we sort of stand out, being a crasher is about blending in until you’re all having such a good time people think it’s your party. So we leave and go back home.

As we pass there’s a couple exchanging words against a fence due to the dark am not sure if its the same one as before. The guy gets angry and he pushes the girl against the fence really hard. Their friends are around and so an escalation seems unlikely. I seem to be proven right when hard shoves are traded in for harsh whispers. The tone of them fills the night air now, tearing pieces out of  the peace of the dark and leaving a hiss of menace everywhere. This is not the sound of peace and atonement; this is the sound of anger given in a just-you-dare kind of voice. But their friends seem to think it will blow over and I am the only one giving any attention to this powder keg.

Then the situation is defused and the guy is walking away from his anger and her mistress. The tension hasn’t left the air yet, this would be the point to turn but something n the atmosphere holds my gaze, I haven’t worn my glasses this night so it’s nothing scenic nothing just a feeling, a whisper that is not all over.

The girl rushes her boyfriend and pushes him simultaneously tripping; he lurches forward and curls to the road in a heap. And quick as a flash her heels are being planted over and over in his stomach. He is being pummelled and everyone is in shock about what’s happening, he tries to get up and finally he manages but he’s learned from last time’s mistakes…

…so he picks her up and twists his body to the left in one fell motion, he lets go of her and she hits the ground hard.

Is it ever justified to hit a girl? Are there instances in life where we can forgive temper taking over the person who was tempted. I think this is a more difficult and varied question than we commonly give credit to. It’s wrong to hit women yes, but it’s also wrong to steal but we almost  understand if you are doing it to feed your children. So if we took the argument to its absurd roots, what if there’s a female thief literally stealing from the mouths of your babes do you still hold on to those ideals? What if you are pushed so far that you have no idea that it’s happening.

What if while you are drunk she throws you on the floor and you curl up like a foetus and she keeps kicking you with her heels, kicking and kicking and kicking and kicking, what then?

It’s wrong to hit a woman but it’s not always the one who does wrong who stands alone in the wrong. I'm trying to write this in a way that doesn't paint me as a wife beater sympathiser, i'm trying to find a way to say that its possible that anger can overcome logic and beat ideals down to a stump, parents get so angry they hit their children, that most defenceless of beings and this is wrong too but provocation behind the shield of a greater wrong is not right either.

But a shove is not a full body throw and this guy had taken it too far. As soon as the girl was down on the floor her friend came to defend her, another girl who came and pushed him. He did not pay mind to arguments about proportionality, about the immorality of his act, he grabbed her too and threw her on the ground, a thud reverberating to where I was.

I am frozen in place by the sheer speed of these acts, by my mind still trying to process the girl tripping him, by my surety that their friends wouldn’t even let it get this far. By my distance from the scene, its hazy and dreamlike, its emotionally disconnected i have never seen a fight like this and i can't wrap my head around it or yet move my feet toward it. Hiding behind the banner that reads "their friends will take care of them right?"

Before all this properly flashes through my mind the second girl’s boyfriend has ran to pummel the first man. He’s angry and it comes off in waves and waves. This is the window to carnage, the opening salvo in a war that would roll along continents and years if allowed. But there’s  a silent still  third party. One of the friends who springs into action and hold hands pinned behind neck and does it in the textbook manner, so quietly and quickly, silently and suddenly that the fight stops. And all we have are the sounds of a struggling child.

And so two minutes after I stopped to stare the drama has unfolded and found itself laid out on a table for me to dissect. A girl is crossing the street opposite with her boyfriend who needs to pee, so she waits for him. I begin talking to her,

“So that’s the end of the party?”
“Yer it’s like this every weekend, we drink, we fight , the cops come and we start again.”

A few days later at work my colleague told us that a lot of muggings happen in Easter when people are travelling, “but the police know the criminals so they just round them up and lock them for those four days.”