Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

12 June 2007

Achieving peace, one fight at a time

Last week, I broke up my first street fight - it was surreal, really...

So I was walking home from a catering gig at the Holiday Inn; it was about 2 a.m., and Saturday night was in full swing; bars bumpin' & bouncers ubiquitous (in my part of Brighton, we have bouncers guarding even the doors of convenience shops). What was surreal: my arms were full of flowers. We had just done a "beach party" event, & I was coming home from a looong evening of cleaning up after some very wild revelers (also surreal: the drag-queen they had for entertainment kissed me. In. front. of. everyone.) - but instead of throwing away the flowered leis we had given each of the guests, I took them all home, planning to hang them on my flatmates' & neighbors' doors, plus give one to our elderly night porter, Joe, whom I adore.

But, nearly home, I came across two young men in the street who had gathered a small crowd. They stood chest-to-chest, and were shouting into each others' faces; one man's face was bloodied, and I could see where it had dripped down the chest of his white shirt. The crowd was apparently made up of their friends, who were shouting at the men to "come on" and "let's go" and "stop it" - but they would not move any closer to the pair.

And so, slightly irrationally (combination of a late night; drag queen; and armful of flowers), I stepped beside the men, who at first ignored me, until I put a hand on first one, then the other's arm. "Gentlemen," I said. I said it quietly; I said it once. And this was all I needed to say. They stopped shouting; the first looked at me and sort of smiled; the second (bloody), paused to catch his breath and looked at me in confusion. I put a lei over the head of the first, who began laughing; then a lei over the head of the second, who looked increasingly confused. The first laughed even more, and said to the second: "There now, doesn't that make you feel better?" Then, one of their friends ran up to me, begging a lei off me ("I will give you SO much money if you give me just one of those!" "I'll give it you for free!" I put it around his neck); then, seeing I had given another away, a woman ran up to me: "May I have one too?" I put one over her head. At this, they all flocked around me. I began throwing lei after lei into the air, where they were caught by the seafront breeze and blown down the sidewalk, chased after by the small group.

And to think those leis would have been wasted, thrown away...


At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Holly said...

Peace may be found in the most unexpected places. Just like magic. I think a little of both happened that night.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger cheryl said...

that is such a great story.


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