Monday, March 16, 2009

Not on My Watch

It's been said that there are two types of people in the world. (Those that divide the world into two types of people, and those who don't.)

However, I'm of the mind that there are three types of people in the world: Those that when an incident happens, stop, stand, and stare; those that when an incident happens, react; and those that when an incident happens, were ready for it.

Saturday early evening, Rutger, his girlfriend Glory, my wife and I went to see the movie, The Watchmen. Fantastic movie. I'll tell you more about it in my subsequent post. Before the movie, we went out to dinner at Bertucci's, a local chain of very good quality Italian food.

We were almost done with dinner and discussing the check when an "incident" began to manifest itself across the restaurant from us. At one booth, two patrons seemed to be disgruntled with some matter in regards to their meal. The waitress seemed to be trying to keep them calm, yet she herself was visibly irrate. In short order, multiple waiters came to the table in addition to the manager. (No pun intended.) The patrons were two black females. One was more or less nondescript. The other, however, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, a baseball cap, and sunglasses. Upon gazing at her, most people would immediately question whether or not this was a woman at all.

Suddenly, these two women were on their feet and raising their voices. The waitress, a petite black girl was being physically restrained by another waiter who was drawing her away from the patrons. The manager was interposing himself from what seemed to be one second away from a full-fledged brawl.

The two black women began publicly shouting: "F---, you n----- bitch! We ain't paying fo' nuthin', you f-ing black n-----!" Etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Something else was said, something I could not hear from my seat, but suddenly, the waiters and manager made a hasty retreat from the table as Ms. Incognito strode into the middle of the restaurant and began emptying her large pocket book, clearly looking for something.


Here's where you become one of the three types of people in the world. What do you do next?

In my entire life, I've never willingly sat on the inside of a booth. Moreover, any time my wife and I eat out, I make sure I'm facing the door. (It's sort of an old West superstition.) This time, however, I've stuck myself on the inside of our booth.

I start patting my wife's leg with increasing intensity, "Get up... get up... get up... GET UP NOW!!!" She let me free and I bolted up and out toward the woman, carefully watching her next move. It was clear to me that she was going for a ...something and I'd be damned if I was going to be sitting in a booth when she found it. I stepped around outside of her peripheral vision and watched her carefully.

After a moment, she seemed to change her mind about whatever it was she thought she was going to do. The waiters and manager returned and the argument resumed, with many shouting for her to "just leave" as she responded with ample usage of the "N word".

Shortly after, she and her obnoxious friend did leave. They were escorted to the door and the crowd remained there at the front for a while. Our waiter came over and apologized profusely, and explained that the same duo had been in four times in the last four weeks, causing trouble, and looking for reasons why they weren't going to pay their bill. This time, when they swore at the waitress and began berating her, the waitress gave them some words back.

At this point, Glory exclaims, "Hey, someone just threw a punch!" We looked up, and it seemed that a scuffle was breakout out outside. I ran to the door and went out side. The waiters were pulling the manager back inside the building. I asked him if he had been hit and he said that there were two guys outside with the woman and one of them threw a punch at him.

I went outside. The guys had apparently ran, but the women were still loitering around. I stepped over to them and informed them in no uncertain terms my opinion of their behavior. I also invited them to return to whatever hole they had crawled out of and to stop causing problems for decent people. The women started to back away, when, at this point, four cruisers pulled up behind them.

To conclude, the police found cause to arrest both women as well as the two men they found lurking in the parking lot. I gave them my name and number as a witness to the incident and soon after, we headed over to the movie theatre.

Now, here's my point. Our mysterious woman had, in point of fact, threatened to shoot every one of the waiters. That's when she jumped up and started emptying her pocketbook. I didn't hear her stay it, but it seemed clear to me that something was about to happen. Right then, I decided it wasn't going to happen unimpeded. I was up and in place behind her fast enough that if she had pulled a gun, I was pretty confident that she wouldn't have been able to do much with it.

And I ask myself why I was ready to act and why so many others weren't. There were people who were much closer to her who could have intervened (had intervention truly been necessary). What if she did pull a gun? What if she turned and started shooting other people in the restaurant? Thank the Lord she didn't, but if she did... what would you have done? What would you have wanted to do?

I don't dwell on this sort of thing and I don't want to give the impression that I'm the some sort of psycho-vigilante riding the New York subway system with a screwdriver hoping to get a chance to use it. But I have thought situations like this through and I've also purposed within myself, that if crap does go down, I'm not going to be a victim, at least not one who didn't make a move to stop it.

I look back on this and I'm pleased how reacted. I was ready. Perhaps more imporantly, I wasn't overly ready. I didn't deck the woman without cause; I didn't exacerbate the situation. But I was ready.

Are you ready?


Anonymous said...

Well, that's an interesting way to start a weekend.

mathguyone said...

Given the fact that a "woman" like that is most likely to inadvertently shoot her friend and three other people not related to the confrontation, you did the right thing. I always carry a pipe. People find it hard to fire a gun with 18" of steel pipe jammed in their skull. Just think..we all now get to feed, clothe and house her for years to come.

mathguyone said...

On an unrelated note, I heard sever people say that Watchmen was long and boring beyond belief. I have not seen it, nor have I done more than seen the commercial on TV once or twice, so I have no opinion as of yet. I am interested in your review, but I reserve the right to pay no attention to it.

Anonymous said...

My advise to mathguyone is to read the graphic novel if you haven't (Barnes and Nobel has them) before you see the movie. I've been waiting for this movie for 22 years, and wasn't disappointed, even if it wasn't perfect. One character carries the movie. And yes it's dark, and yes it's graphic. And yes, Nixon's nose is really badly done.

As a side note to the Lord of Upham Manor, I have to say that halfway into your retelling of your genuine Italian dining experience, I was wondering how much of this was BS, and how much was true. You see, after two 'storied' posts, you've become an untrustworthy blogger. I take it with a grain of salt. So some time you'll have to tell me if it was real. Seriously. You've planted a huge seed of doubt with the ghost and other stories. But it does make good reading regardless.

And as an alum. of Virg. Tech, I guess the new motto is "Always be prepared to disarm."

Gleno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gleno said...

Let me try that again having properly proof read what I have to say.

CC: I assure you that everything did happen exactly the way I described it. While I have, at times, tried to gauge whether or not anyone was reading this Blog by means of Orson Wellsian methods, I assure you this story at least) is factually accurate.

MG: Stay tuned. I'm about to talk about The Watchmen. I hope you'll go see it.

AsterixChaos said...

To the question posed at the end of the post? Yes. It's situations just like this that motivated me to spend the time and money necessary to get my concealed weapons permit, and why I am pretty much always armed. It's not because I'm some violence junky, hungry for a chance to get away with shooting someone. As someone who has the capacity to stand for the well-being of the people around me, though, I cannot escape a sense of responsibility. Waiters, waitresses (or in my own recent experience, bus drivers,) don't carry weapons. It's a given. When some douche nozzle like this decides that they want something, they believe they can FORCE someone to give them what they want by waving a gun or other weapon around.

Twice, I was stuck in the role of the helpless witness to the greed and stupidity of others. I just can't sit and wait for it to happen a third time or sit by quietly and let one person take advantage of or threaten another.

Thank God that we live in a country where those of us with sense, self control, and responsibility have our right to arm and defend ourselves and our communities protected by our government.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, how likely you are to have that right is up to the community you live in. Although I think you can once again appeal their decisions, but I'm not sure of that.
I also think of something that someone else wrote in a blog. That they always look at alternative weapons, and alternative escape routes. It's a sad thing but something that does need to be considered in this day and age.

Donzo said...

Gleno, you are a FATHER now! You can't be doing stuff like that! What's he gonna think, knowin' his dad gave his life for someone else, and is a hero!
As for me, since I am not allowed to be armed, I try to make sure I have some big buddy watching my back, then I will place myself in the fray. I'll use the authority of my anger, my voice, and my age, to intimmidate (sp?) but do not expect to last beyond the first punch. I employed this method several times when we were in Belarus, and enjoyed great success.
Post 9-11, any guy who isn't ready to "stand-in-the-gap", is a traitor to his country, or his family, and deserves neither.