Every year, on the 17th of March, people all across the world come together to honor Saint Patrick, the sage inventor of the color green. The day is generally characterized by the drinking of an extreme amount of alcohol and the listening of bagpipes. One can assume that the true purpose of this incredible intoxication is really a way to get so smashed that the terrible noise created from bagpipes doesn’t actually sound like the terrible noise created from bagpipes.
On this sacred holiday of St. Patty’s day, my roommates and I decide to get our friends over for some good ol’ fashioned day-drinking and wearing of the color green (we also allowed the wearing of St. Patrick’s second favorite color: puddle-gray). After a few drinks in our casa, we were feeling adequately jazzy and decided to venture out to some nearby bars.
Bar festivities commenced as usual— we drank, we joked, and we chatted. Unknown to us– one particularly drunk woman took immediate issue with us as soon as we stepped into the bar. She was apparently dissatisfied that we had dared sit on an empty bench that was in close proximity her. And with due reason. It is our most promised human right—the right to a people-free bar on St. Patty’s day—-that all peoples of all backgrounds deserve. So naturally, she proceeded to shout vulgarities and insults at us while struggling to keep her drunken self from falling over.
We were all were having a good time amongst ourselves so it was not difficult to ignore her unpleasant remarks and scornful glare. We were adults, and like adults, were able to control ourselves in the face of a belligerent and very drunk woman. However, there are some things that you just can’t control. And this is when the situation escalated— when my friend, henceforth referred to as Humphrey, was unable to control the uncontrollable:
What emerged from Humphrey’s bum was fart— a fart that unleashed a much more savage beast than the one we were dealing with before.
Reacting as if she had just been shot in the eyeball, the woman became even more combative, evolving into what I shall call the crazed mistress of the night (it wasn’t night). Sensing that this woman was about to implode, Humphrey made a swift retreat to the other side of the bar. But in his retreat, he left our fellow comrade, Bogart, to endure alone the wrath of the crazed mistress of the night.
She became increasingly louder and more crude with each verbal assault. Up until a certain point, her attempts to provoke a retaliation were in vain as Bogart remained calm. like the most calm lady bug you have ever seen. So in a last desperate effort, she decided to just start making shit up:
Upon hearing such blatant libel, Bogart decided it was time to defend himself from this character attack and let the woman know what she truly was: a crazed mistress of the night (day). So he let her have it. Unable to match his reason and intelligence, the woman summoned her manfriend over to defend her honor. Fortunately, the manfriend was a reasonable kind of dude and knew that his ladyfriend was being crazy drunk. Thus Bogart and said manfriend, realizing their common bro-hood, were able to work out a true gentleman’s agreement: You stay over there, and we shall stay-th over here-th. All was quiet on the western front and it appeared as though the conflict had been evaded. This was until Bogart decided to lean in and whisper to the manfriend what was both the best and worst thing to say in the entire history of that moment:
I’m not going to get into the details of the scuffle because …what do you think this is– the Hunger Game? Well yes, kind of, because I do perceive myself to be the present-day Katniss. But no, I’m not going to exploit the incredibly gory details of the scuffle for the sake of entertainment. All you need to know is there was scuffling and shortly after we were “escorted” out of the bar to the cries of “You don’t mess with family,” which presumably meant, you don’t fart on family. Amen to that, sister.
We exited the bar, adrenaline pumping, only to go to another bar, where we eventually realized that it was really crowded and if ya can’t dance, then what the hell is the point of being in a bar. Back at the house we pieced together what had happened to lead up to the scuffle. The only real conclusion we came to was that the crazed mistress of the night was truly a crazed mistress of the night: acting completely beyond our understanding.
On this matter– why a woman was so eager to start a fight with amicable strangers— I am still genuinely confused. Like women who wear high heels, republicans, and mime artists, there are some people who I will never fully understand. But mere lack of understanding is no reason to discount the character of a person. She’s probably a good person and just had a very bad day. I remember the the ever-so-wise Atticus Finch and what he said to his daughter in the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, “You never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them.”
So I sit her now trying—trying to place myself in those shoes— to imagine what could have happened in her past, what happened before our encounter that had left her in such a highly reactive and agitated mood. To understand. To empathize. I too have had my share of bad moods. And I too have overreacted to something trivial due to those bad moods. Maybe the same things that would trigger a bad mood for me happened minutes earlier to her. Like…perhaps she was eating too much chocolate and got chocolate cramps and then her boyfriend was like “There’s no such thing as chocolate cramps.” And then she was like “Oh no. I must have cancer.” And just like that she went from eating chocolate to being in a bad mood to starting fights in bars. I get it.
But trying to understand is hard. And it’s also painful to try to wear another person’s shoes. And if it’s not painful, it’s because the shoes are too big and now you just look like a silly clown. And how are you supposed to get a boyfriend if you look like a silly clown? Personality? I think not.