Thursday, March 22, 2012

Throat Punch Thursday - Random Drunks Edition

There are certain things in life that should just be considered in the code respect for another human being no matter what right?

I think being Irish bombed makes people disregard any respect for anything - I experienced a perfect example of this over the weekend.  We went downtown to see the Chicago River dyed green which was fine, the crowd was not too overwhelming and people were still being courteous at 10am.  It was the most gorgeous St. Patrick's Day and the warmest in 141 years. 

Photo credit: My son from Dad's shoulders

The parade went off without incident aside from not being able to see much even from Daddy's shoulders.  I wasn't expecting the scantily clad to be there in droves but I blame the weather for that being almost 80, there were no traditional Irish sweaters needed.

Photo Credit: My daughter from Dad's shoulders

My example of worthless came on the train ride home after the parade..

Crowded train, we had already changed seats due to a family with a stroller needing our space.  A staggering man walks into the car and stands in the isle with his back towards us, yammering to his equally inebriated friends on the top deck of the train about how he can't find his wife, throwing the eff words around.  I politely tap him to let him know I've got kids behind him, he apologized and went up to join his friends.  I heard one guy say "Happy Birthday, Man" to one of the others so obviously there was a party going on.

They had a bag of beers even though we saw signs clearly stating there were no alcoholic beverages allowed on the train that day due to the occasion.  I can't say how many were in the party, at least five because there was a missing wife - I'm guessing maybe she was the designated driver and she got pissed at the rest of the group.  This is only a guess.  For the next hour, my kids heard words come out of these people like diarrhea after a saline cleanse.  I'm not sure if they were doing it more on purpose because I said something or if they were just having their own party not taking into consideration the 50 plus other people contained with them in the car.

Among the swearing, we heard numerous times about how they were from Bourbonass and that they had (fucking) 16 pounds of (fucking) corned beef waiting for them once they reached their next destination.  The guy started talking about his missing wife again and someone told him he was "So totally Motherfucked" about three times.  Here's what ensued:
"Hey can you guys give it a rest up there?"
The response was a bunch of empty fuck yous.
"Can't you just shut the hell up?"
"It's my birthday too," I pleaded, trying to find a common ground to play to their human bone, "let's all use a little respect here alright?"

By this time, the whole posse was yelling down at me, telling me to take off the shawl I was wearing and the guy from the far corner told me to "BRING IT BITCH!"

I stood up. 

Natural reaction, he wasn't going to bully me, I was sticking up for my kids.  They greeted me with middle fingers and more swearing.  Other people on the train started getting involved. I'm not sure what all was said but my cousin who was in a deep sleep woke up ready to kick some ass and was standing before I even knew she was awake.

Time stood still while I was seeing red.

Then I saw my son start to cry.  I hoped they saw it too.

The innocent children who I was trying to protect, saw me at my worst.  I let them get me. My son was scared because I was so pissed, not because of what they were saying. I reacted when I could have been more pro-active.  I thought I was being that but it turned into something else entirely.

I sat back down consoling him only to hear them calling me a fatass bitch and talking about my shawl continuing to taunt me.  I mean really?  I would liked to have had a bigass club with spikes on it to take across their heads and back a couple times just to beat some sense into them. (In the alternate ending, that's what happens.)

"I don't want them to ruin your birthday, mom," he said through tears.
"There's nothing that could ruin this day for me, let's not let them. They don't deserve that power, let's not give it to them."

They do deserve more than a throat punch!  I'm not one to poo poo on anyone's party but have some respect not only for my kids, but the other kids and adults in that train car. To the Bourbonasses:

So I'm curious, what would you have done in this situation?
We did process it more at dinner that night, I only wish I wouldn't have let myself get sucked into the suckiness that was that group.
We would have only had to process them, not my own role in the chaos.  Parenting test #487 - be ready for it when it happens to you.


TLanceB said...

I'm sorry you had to fo through that. This has happened to me, my wife and our kids twice. The first time, we freaked and covered ears and asked the people to be respectful and tehre was some conflict. The enxt time, we showed our disapproval for their behavior, got the kids off the marta (train in atlanta) and talekd to them later.

My kids understand rudeness and its ramications. I would have acted the same way you did, but showed a cool headed, disapproved example to the kids.

Happy belated St. Patrick's

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thanks and thanks for following my blog! We have always told them that people that have to talk like that have nothing better to say. My son later admitted he hears some of those words from his classmates - 4th grade afterall. I figure at one time, I was probably them and one day, they will be in my situation so I hope karma is less than kind when it happens to them.

Anonymous said...

Your dad would have moved the kids out of the way , and then started to kick some ass.Ask me sometime about my train experience.

John Hancock said...

similar incident (without drunkeness, I think) at our state's get your car inspected or you don't get your license e-check. Our son was, at the time, maybe 3. One guy found out his car didn't pass, so he came into the waiting room and let loose a blue streak. Maybe its because I out-height and out-weigh most people, but I simply said in a commanding but not too loud voice: "Hey, little ears" and pointed to my son. He was not happy and managed to let it slip once or twice more but then he looked over and apologized.
I would say if you did anything wrong (and I'm not sure you did) it would be the mistake of appealing to their better nature, because even if they had a better nature, it would have been drowned by then. I think all you had to do was state simply the equivalent of "little ears" and then let it go.
Keep in mind, in a large city, on a long day of drinking, the possibility for minor incidents to escalate suddenly and without rationality is higher than normal. Since you had your kids there, you may have been putting them at risk as well unwittingly. Could you really have taken on 4 angry drunks if it became physical?
In the end, all the damage that would have happened if you did nothing was a chance to explain to your kids that even adults can have bad behaviour and they should never use those words. It could have been an opportunity.
Having said that, though, we all have visceral responses to these situations, and its easy for me to sit here and say you should have let it go. I wasn't there, I didn't have the adrenaline coursing through me, etc, etc. I'm not making a judgement of you, obviously they were being jerks. But even if you're in the right sometimes you need to remember to minimize your overall risk if possible.

Johnny Bee said...

This is the exact reason why I dislike St. Patrick's Day. It could be a great celebration but it's turned into 'The Green (Amateurs) Wearing Green and Getting Green.' We have a parade too but I haven't been in years. Why do I want my kids around folks who have been drinking since 7:00 AM (when the bars are allowed to open)?

It's funny how over imbibing enhances someone's poor qualities, isn't it? Those people you dealt with were probably manners-challenged when sober. Beer just made it worse.

No one should have to deal with what you did. I would have asked them to stop as well and if they didn't, you can bet I'd let someone in charge know about it. I've had to do it in the past. A little time behind bars to reflect upon what they did would have been just what the doctor ordered in your situation.

Truthful Mommy said...

This is exactly why we don't do St.Patricks Day in the city. And the train? Forget about it, the asswipes who ride the train during fests are usually drunk and obnoxious.Im sure you've had the misfortune of the drunks coming from the taste;( so sorry your kids had to experience those jerks and sorry they were so ride and mean to you! Bourbonasses indeed. They totally deserve more than a throat punch.

Julie said...

I think it's good for our kids to see us unsure of what to do. They need examples of adults floundering, to give them reference when they are in a situations they aren't sure how to deal with. I think you did the right thing. The fact that you "debriefed" your children at home later was very important. What a good time to say, "I wasn't sure what to do, but I knew it didn't feel right to go any further, so I stopped." What a teachable moment for your kids...just because things went a little too far, it's never too late to STOP to regroup or even back down, before things get worse! Well done.

I'm sorry the drunks had to eff up your birthday! :)

CoffeeLovinMom said...

To be quite honest, I didn't even calculate the risks..I felt like a mama bird whose feathers got ruffled. I found out later that if I had informed a conductor, they would have had them escorted off at the next stop.

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I don't know why I thought I would get special treatment on my birthday..
I'm sure you're right about the manners department - the more of them you get together, the less of a brain they have. I'm real surprised we didn't get the attention of a conductor, things were done as fast as they started. I was told afterward that if I had told a conductor, there would have been a police escort at the next stop to take them off. Hindsight..

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I just hope they learned the right lesson and not all the swear words!
My sensitive son saved the day! I'm glad my husband had his back to the group and didn't see all that went on, I'm afraid it would have escalated. He almost got into a fight in France on the tour bus with a photographer that was in my boundaries..real good he didn't see the whole scene upstairs..