I'd like to begin today by thanking my school district for making the dum-dum call to close schools due to snow. We have no snow. Woohoo! I'm sure the big guys are kicking themselves, but I have nothing but good things to say about them. Sometimes our mess-ups make lots of people happy.
It seems that whenever I go out for drinks with my teacher-friends, a Paulie Walnuts-type character is lurking. Here's the Paulie story from Saturday night . . .
A bunch of us went to a local restaurant/bar to see a band which stars one of my former 3rd grade students -one of my all-time favorite students. This girl is only 14 years old and is an amazing drummer. She doesn't play like a teenage girl - she's unbelievable. (And don't worry about her now that you're thinking she's playing in a bar. Her father is the guitar player and her mom was right there, too. She's not hanging out in bars on her own at 14.) As the band was getting ready to start, we got a table and pulled a bunch of chairs around it. My friend C. and I were standing behind our chairs while the rest of our group sat down. From behind C., a little (and I mean little) bruiser-type guy walked up to her chair and said, "Hey, ya mind if I sit here? I gotta sit down." I don't know if she spoke or just nodded, but the guy dropped himself into the chair. The rest of us looked at each other with raised eyebrows and then at C. She just shrugged her shoulders.
We watched him as he sat there, wiggling and squirming like he couldn't sit still. He checked his phone, sipped from his beer bottle, and looked around. We couldn't help but notice his tattoos on his neck and his arms. Now, I'm not tattoo expert (although I have watched quite a few episodes of LA Ink), but his tattoos weren't the nice kind. They weren't crisp and clear and well done. They were bluish and blurry. The one on his neck was the Playboy Bunny symbol. (Must make his mama proud.) After a few minutes he got up and walked away. Good. He was gone. A little bump in the road. We return you to our regularly scheduled evening out.
Not to be. C. and I walked to the bar to get a drink (just milk, Mom) and C. found herself standing next to the barstool on which Paulie, Jr. was sitting. He leaned toward her and put his hand on her back. (Why do men think it's okay to touch a girl when they're complete strangers? Ew.) I didn't hear what he said, but she told me when we walked away (with our milk). It went something like this: "I hope ya didn't dink I was disrespecting you sittin in your chair. We should go get cawfee at da end of da night." C. smiled politely and side-stepped away, and we very maturely broke up into fits of giggles.
Paulie weaved and bobbed throughout the crowd for a while, seeming to be looking for something or someone, but hanging out on his own. He ended up back in a chair at our table. This time, there was no polite request to sit in the chair. I don't know if I can paint the picture with words here, but his hand shot out toward the back of the chair, he grabbed it, pulled it back hard and let it go, then walked around it and dropped. I was thinking he must have learned that move through a Be-A-Tough-Don't-Mess-With-Me-Kind-Of-Guy correspondence course. Again, we all looked at each other and raised our eyebrows.
At this point, I kind of lost track of what happened. Apparently, Paulie did or said something that offended K., a fellow female teacher who takes no nonsense from anyone. She asked him to leave our table. Yikes. Pushed Paulie right over the edge. After this, there was testosterone flying everywhere. (I think some of it got in my hair. Yuck.) There was Paulie, toe to toe with one of the guys in our group. Then there's R., the adorable husband of one of my friends, approaching with a smile, hand out ready to shake, introducing himself and asking Paulie his name. (Didn't he already know it was Paulie?) It seems that someone in our group heard this tough guy telling someone that he'd just gotten out of prison and that he got during some prison "down-time." R. was playing the role of the good guy, trying to diffuse the situation before it got out of hand. Paulie wasn't having it. He did shake hands, but then puffed his chest out even farther. (He might have even flapped his wings. I could have been imagining that, though.)
Suddenly, there were more toe to toe, nose to nose, and, well, nose to chest pairings among the males as they took turns trying to get rid of Paulie. Paulie kept reaching behind his back and touching the waistband of his jeans. Checking to be sure his gun was still there? His knife? His shiv? Was he really packing? It was kind of scary. It got even scarier as all of the men started puffing up their chests and I heard the word "outside" spoken by one of them. Luckily, one of our guys had armed himself, sticking a fork up the sleeve of his sweater.
The man-pack moved outside, leaving us girls to worry about our men as they went off to battle (and leaving us to handle the harvest and the hunting on our own). Even though I didn't have my own personal man in the group, I was nervous. Actually, one of our guys had remained behind, staring at the TV and looking very bored. He told me that he had their back, but he didn't want to further antagonize the guy by joining the pack. Still not sure if I'm buying that one.
After only a few minutes, our guys returned. They were all in one piece. No torn shirts or bent forks. Relief. "Is he gone?" we asked. "Nah, he'll be back." And he was. As if he could float, Paulie was suddenly back behind the group. It wasn't more than a few minutes when there were more puffed up chests and noses nearly touching. This time, an employee had called the police and a cop came in to have a chat with Paulie. I couldn't hear what was said, but I figured that the cop was strongly encouraging him to hit the road as they walked outside together. Big sigh. Catastrophe averted. Jobs saved, as we noted that there were several school district central office administrators among the patrons of the bar.
Now we could all relax and enjoy the band. We told C. that all of this trouble could have been avoided if she'd just agreed to go for cawfee with him. Geez.
Onto the enjoyable part of the evening. Smooth sailing the rest of the way. Not.
We move on the the next bad guy story. When the man-ruckus was happening, a handsome white-shirted guy had joined to good guys to help them out. He stuck around and started talking to our group. He was attractive and had an adorable Boston accent. (His fawtha was a cawp. So waws his brotha.) C. and I remarked that he was cute. He liked C. He moved in on her and I was thinking, Good. He likes her. He's cute.
A few minutes later, she was at my side again looking angry and scared at the same time. He's cute, no? No, she told me. He wasn't. He was a pig. He had invited her to his hotel room. Creeped her out. Did I also mention that he was touching her arm and back as he talked? Why do they think they can do that. Men think they can touch you when they don't know you. Why? (Now don't think I'm generalizing about men. I know that not all men are like this. I happen to know some good men. Let's see . . . there's my dad, my uncles, a few cousins, my brother-in-law, and okay, I'll count my son. And there's, um . . . I'll need more time to think about this, but I'm sure there are more.) C. was grossed out and very uncomfortable. She did her best to stay away from him, but wasn't successful. He kept coming back. At one point, he was talking to her as she was standing next to me - and then she walked away. Leaving me. With him.
He kept tawking, telling me that he was that kind of kid who gawt in trouble at school. Even though he had cawps in his family, he was a bad kid. I told him I believed him and that I think I'd read about his family once. I rejoined our group and he seemed to back off.
We did end up having a good time overall, staying until closing at nearly 2 AM. As C. and I were leaving, she told me that the Boston guy had given her his phone number and hotel room number. I told her that she was just being a baby. She just had to choose how she wanted to be murdered that night. In a dumpster behind a diner after coffee? Or in a hotel room after a dip in a hot tub? One way was dirty. The other way was clean. (I'd pick clean, but that's just me.)
So, my friends, once again, I've learned something. We're all just better off staying at home and knitting.
I've been working on my Satchel Grande and I'm getting there. I'll post pictures of it soon.