Yesterday I picked up my sunglasses, and one of the lenses fell off. YES!
Why I am I happy with this? Well, I have a bad track record with sunglasses. I either lose or break them. And I do this often, normally within a week or two of buying a pair. These sunglasses I bought back in October, so they lasted over two months. They were scratched all over, and probably would have gone longer before falling apart, but I’m pleased they lasted so long. Or at least I managed not to lose them for long enough for them to break, which is a minor victory.
Thinking of sunglasses, I remembered a story I wrote down a few months ago. I don’t think I posted it here on my blog. It features me getting into a fight. And sunglasses.
The story of one of my very few encounters with physical violence:
About five or six years ago I was staying at my parents’ home for a few days. They live in a town in a rural area in the north of England. The town is on that border between a middle class and working class kind of place, so while there is a “rough” part of town, it’s not rough at all, and is only two streets. Anyway, it’s not the place you’d expect trouble on a sunny midweek afternoon.
But it only takes one idiot.
I was walking up an empty street, minding my own business, when the idiot showed up. I didn’t even take notice of him at first, as he walked out of a side street on the other side of the road, and maybe slightly behind me.
He shouts out the classic line “Where you looking at me?”
As it happens, I really didn’t even glance at him, or not that I remember. I found this quite amusing. I looked over, and he was wearing a white baseball cap. This might be common in the US, but in the UK this a clear sign that reads “CHAV”.
I said “No, I wasn’t looking at you, but I guess I am now.”
He didn’t take it for the joke I intended it to be, and decided to take issue. With more blustering, stupid effrontery, he followed my up the street, pushing me, trying to grab me, and generally being an annoying twat. I could see he was doing everything he could to make the situation end non-peacefully, so I tried to just get away.
At the top of the street was a supermarket car park, so I turned in there, and he followed me. Once he saw I was going to go into the supermarket, where a security guard would likely be waiting, he took things to the next level, by grabbing my arm and pulling me. I wondered, if he wanted a fight, why didn’t he just start it himself.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. First I calmly took off my sunglasses, and put them in my pocket. As I was doing this I was thinking “When I tell this story in the future, no matter how it ends, I’ll mention how I took my sunglasses off before getting into a fight.”
Second, I swept my hand up and knocked the idiot’s baseball cap off his head. I wasn’t sure if he’d get the historical significance of the action, but I knew it would annoy him.
Third, as he let go in surprise at the hat-doffing, I head-butted him, right in his stupid face, hard. My forehead connected with his nose, and I felt a satisfying crunch. The idiot stumbled back, holding his nose, and looked like he was about to fall down. He didn’t though, so I turned and walked, quite quickly, across the remainder of the car park and into the supermarket.
He followed me, but by the time he got to the front of the shop I was standing next to the security guard, smiling out through the glass doors, watching him dab blood off his face with his sleeve. I knew he wouldn’t come in; what would he say or do?
As I was there already, I bought some food in the shop, and by the time I left the idiot was nowhere to be seen.
To be honest, I probably could have found a way out of the situation that didn’t involve violence, and certainly not with me landing the first blow. But you know what? It had been a long time since I’d hit someone in the nose, and it’s not often the situation presents itself so clearly and obviously. It just feels good, no matter how horrific that sounds. I’m usually a complete pacifist, and hate violence, but the crunch of bone on cartilage fulfills some innate human-male urge.
Also, why should I let someone else have the first punch? I’ve been in that situation before, a story I might share later, and isn’t half as fun. As an illustration, maybe I’ll post the x-ray of my nose that was taken in a Barcelona hospital in 1997.