Guest post from Scott M. known for his mad skills with the English language and calling primaries on gates. This is his first post.
It’s funny how human nature reveals itself. Some things you learn through experience. This event is definitely one of them. Here I was, face to face with a Guido. He’s in my face yelling “Do you wanna start something?”. I glanced at the dingy pool-hall sign before answering. Our faces were inches from each other. I could see his horrible spray-on tan and smelled the alcohol on his breath.
I took a second to slow down and ponder “Why am I in this situation? What brought us to this point?”
It’s funny really. We all neglect our families the majority of the year so that a person can cram the most awkward and irritating times with family into two or three days over the holidays. It doesn’t take long before you’re sick of it all. It’s artificial; it’s silly. Not to say that you’re going to turn into Fall-out boy and compose screamo music about it — but nevertheless, it sucks.
So what do you do?
You go out. You get away, even if it’s for a few hours. And that’s exactly what the Guido and I did. Not together of course, it just sort of ended up that way.
Let me set the scene. I’m shooting pool with my roommate and a friend at a bar. The bar is pretty chill. I can’t ever recall a bone of contention or any animosity displayed by folks in the establishment. The bar consists of darts, foosball, a jukebox, pool tables, and of course, the booze. There’s a group of guys that walk into the bar. The four of them make a beeline toward the cheapest activity, the foosball tables. The four of them go at it, are extremely loud, and a tad obnoxious. Okay, whatever. It’s a free country.
A few minutes later, I’m lining up my shot. It’s a bit difficult, as I’m a inebriated. I feel a tap on my left shoulder. A guy extends his hand, wanting me to shake it. A quick glance at him tells me I don’t know him, so I decline a handshake. Around where I live, the first thing a solicitor or a bum does is the “get cozy with your mark” act. You’ll have people hanging out and telling you sob stories about how they lost their farm from 7 years ago in a hurricane. If you lived here 7 years ago, you’d know that said hurricane didn’t do much (or any) damage to farms in the area. The first thing that person does is attempt to shake your hand. It’s a sort of method to see how nice a person is. If they don’t shake your hand, they dont bother to on with the story — they know you’r enot going to fork over cash.
Little did I know that the gentleman connected to the extended hand was Teddy. I didn’t find this out until later of course, but Teddy took offense to this act. Basically he thought I punched him in the dick. You see, Teddy is an outgoing person. He rolls deep with three buddies. The crew made the transition from foosball to a pool table. Out of the five available tables, Teddy and his buds picked the ones next to us. No problem, again — a free country.
That’s when the shit starts. Teddy isn’t incredibly good at pool. He takes a while with his shots. He’s emphatic. Because of this fact, he takes forever to shoot. When he does, he usually misses, so you’re stuck waiting to shoot on your table because the other table takes so damned long. Once they do finally shoot, it goes haywire and is laughable. It’s as if you were watching golf and every meticulously planned shot goes in a sand bunker. You can tell he digs this game, so I can’t make fun of him too much. An odd thing is that they bet money on shots. At one point Teddy and the Guido (one of his posse) discuss at length a particular shot on the 8 ball. My shot put me standing between our two tables. It was the Guido’s shot, so I stood off to the side waiting for him to take his turn. If I had gone first, I would have been in the way. First come, first shoot sort of thing. The discussion about the shot was going on for quite a bit, all while Guido was leaned over his cue — poised to shoot. At one point he reared his right arm back, as if to go. Unfortunately, I had no such luck. At the last moment before the cue made contact with the cue ball, he aborted the shot. He sauntered over to Teddy’s hand, and shook it. Repeat this process five or six times. Each time, just long enough so that I couldn’t work my shot in. It was starting to be annoying. A party foul if I’ve ever seen one.
That in itself isn’t too annoying. What was annoying is that after the Guido shoots his shot, more party fouls seem to emerge from their crew. Teddy steps up to his table. He leans over to make a shot, but not before shooting me a glance. After successfully making eye contact with me, he leans over to the Guido. “He weird.” I look up. “That boy weird.” I set my cue down and asked Teddy what was up. It was pretty clear that he’s referring to the dreaded handshake incident. After listening further, I realized he was indeed talking about me. I informed him that I have a problem with people talking shit about me behind my back. Teddy declined to pursue the avenue further. He stopped talking to Guido about “that weird guy”, but also seemed a bit put off. Okay, we’re moving into “big jerkoff” territory here.
Teddy and his buds go out to smoke. Here we have a smoking ban in bars, so people have to go outside to light up. It’s kind of cool actually, bars don’t smell like shit anymore. I was hoping that would be the last I see of Teddy. We go about our game and fun times were had.
After a time things settle down. I could tell that other people were also a bit ruffled by these guys. There was a sense of hostility in the air; it’s hard to describe. A guy at the bar shuffles to the jukebox to pick a song. I see he puts money in, and is picking his songs. Guido appears out of thin air over his shoulder. I’m watching intently, but can’t quite make out the words. The guy at the box seems annoyed. Guido is gesticulating. They part ways, Guido returning to the outside.
We finish our last game. It was pretty horrible, if I recall. We settle up at the bar and I let the bartender know that “those guys” were hassling everyone. The guy at the jukebox pipes up, saying that the Guido threatened to call “his people” if the guy at the jukebox didn’t use HIS money to pay for whatever the Guido wanted to hear. It was laughable. The bartender looks pissed. Apparently they had been there quite a while that night and were carrying on stupid stuff like that. Hassling people, threatening, looking for something that isn’t there. On our way out we head to our cars. My roommate and I had one car together, and our friend’s car was parked at the end of the lot.
The bartender approaches the crew, now smoking while sitting outside on the patio furniture, that “they’re done.” They look kind of surprised, and comply with her orders to get out of there. We overhear this exchange as we’re heading to our car. The friend is still at the end of the lot, smoking a cigarette by his car. Teddy’s car is at the end of the lot too. What do you do when you’re thrown out of a bar on Christmas eve? Teddy’s idea was to introduce himself (as Teddy) and shake the friend’s hand.
That’s when I realized the miracle that is Christmas. You see, Christmas drives us to do stuff. Part of it’s family, but the other part is that it just plain sucks.
So I did what people do on Christmas Eve. I snapped. This guy has been a pain in the ass all night to everyone in his surroundings and thinks he’s still cool. I let him know that he should stop bothering people and go home. It probably wasn’t very nice. I don’t recall exactly what I said. Guido runs (more like a waddle really, it was an odd movement) straight up to my face and starts yelling. By the way, he was kind of short — it was a funny situation.
We’re full circle now. I figured out what brought us up to this point. We’re all out because we’re avoiding something or someone on Christmas Eve. Some people just go out to relax. These losers can find nothing else to do but make trouble. We all have our reasons.
I wanted nothing else on earth more than to slug this pathetic steaming pile of spray-on tanning cream (it might have been spray paint) in his noggin.
But I didn’t, I walked away. Merry Christmas everyone.