I'M FINALLY HOME! AND THE ALBUM IS DONE!
US Tour Day 270: Las Vegas, Nevada
People can be so unhappy—it's why they lash out at others. At first these outbursts can seem strange and unexpected, but if we look at a person's life and the events that shaped them during their years on earth we often see that the way they act isn't strange at all. In fact, it seems quite expected considering their past. But, what do you do when there is no way to find out about a person's past?
Last night Jocelyn took me to the Double Down, a divey punk bar off the strip in Las Vegas. It was a locals–only sort of joint nestled between a handful of gay hangouts. The walls were painted with punk rock skeletons, and old VHS videos of The Police, X, and The Clash looped on aged televisions suspended from the ceiling. A blues band prepared their gear on the stage—if you can call a postage stamp of floor raised about five inches off the ground a stage.
Jocelyn had a disposable camera with her and told me to go stand by the skeleton so she could take a picture. The flash illuminated the room for a moment, but I couldn't see much of it from under the bent down brim of my black leather cowboy hat.
From the nearest corner of the bar a young man yelled, "Go home you fucking tourists." I'm so used to living in a world of pronoia, one where people believe the universe is constantly conspiring to make their lives beautiful. Almost never do I encounter people who actually swear at strangers.
I walked over to the guy and sat next down on the bar stool next to him. "So, what kind of thing is that to say to strangers? And, my friend has lived here her entire life."
"Well, I wasn't yelling at your friend, then." He glared at me so as to say, so there.
"What kind of person swears at people they don't know like that? It's just not a nice way to treat people. Maybe do you want to explain yourself?"
"Well, maybe I'm not a very nice person, OK?" He started to yell very loudly, "So, go the fuck away!"
I was starting to have fun. Letting people go around mistreating others doesn't help anyone. He needed to either justify himself or have it explained to him that his behavior was inappropriate—or both. And, he didn't seem violent at all, so I sensed no potential threat of being actually harmed. But, I could see that he was very unhappy with being called on his behavior. He had a girl with him—a date. She sat on the other side of him, looking uncomfortable at the way her male friend was acting. She tried to act like she didn't know him; she pretended to hear nothing but her eyes gave her attachment away.
I smiled and made myself a little more comfortable on the bar stool. "Well, since this seat is empty I was thinking I was going to have a seat right here next to you so we could chat for a while."
"No you're fucking not. We have a friend who was sitting there and she's coming back soon. You need to leave."
"No I don't, actually. It's OK. I'll just stay here and hang out with you until she comes back. That would be fun for you, right? We're going to talk about this some more."
He started to crack. "Would you please just go the fuck away. I don't want you next to me. I don't want you here."
"No, thanks. I'm staying."
He started to yell. The girl next to him was visibly ashamed of his behavior, but said nothing. I stared him in the eyes and smiled. I wasn't trying to be a jerk, I just wanted to have a little fun and have this person be accountable for his actions. If you kick a dog, it might just bite you back. My smile was my bite.
"You want to talk about this some more?"
"I DON'T WANT YOU NEXT TO ME!"
"I know. I got that read. Maybe you shouldn't swear at people you don't know in the future, OK?"
I got up and walked away, amazed that there are still people out there that fling their anger on others. What have we done to create these unhappy people?
I walked to the other end of the bar, where my experience was just the opposite of what I had with Angry Young Man. Within twenty seconds of sitting down two nice guys bought Jocelyn and I shots of something called 'ass juice.'
I never saw Angry Guy again that night. I didn't see him leave, either. He slipped away silently without even giving me a hug or anything. I imagined that either he felt too uncomfortable to stay, the girl felt too uncomfortable with him to stay, or some combination of the two. I wished I could have found out why he was the way he was, though. That was my original plan, but his resistance and hostility made this impossible for me.
I'm not sure I handled this the best way I could. Did Angry Guy learn anything? Will he do this sort of thing again? Did I learn as much as I could from the moments? All I know is that I did the best with what I had at the moment. Hopefully that's good enough until the next time.
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