Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Fight

I forgot completely to tell you all about one of the highlights of my summer! I broke up a neighborhood fight. Between two adults. Two grown men twice my size in every capacity.

Of course you know that good ole' Mr. Swell was involved (you remember - the tree pruning neighbor that dislikes my daughters and thinks that Poetroad and I are terrible parents). The other dueling dad? Our friend and neighbor across the street, "Ben."

Here's how it happened... It was a warm August afternoon, and I was doing my laundry. All of the doors to my house were open, including the garage door, and ten to fifteen kids were running around the neighborhood in front of (and through) my house (as they usually do). As I was getting ready to put another load into the washer, I noticed through the open garage doors that there was some kind of commotion going on at the end of my drive way. Two kids were going at it (my neighbor Ben's son, "Tony," and "Boston" a guest of Mr. Swell's son).

Automatically, I was drawn to the scene in order to mediate the scuffle, but before I could even get through my garage, Ben ran across the street and intervened. Because his son was the one who took a nose full of fist - and because Boston was not standing down even when Tony was crying and holding his nose - Ben grabbed Boston by the shoulders and said firmly, "What do you think you are doing?"

That's when Mr. Swell tore over there and was all over Ben like a yellow jacket to a barbecue.

I nearly wet myself right then and there. Instinctively, my 10 year old got the phone and put it in my hand as I walked semi-cross-legged toward the scene. I don't even remember telling her to get the phone, but I do remember telling myself, "You cannot pee now. You have to keep it in. Don't do this."

Oh, and you should know that at the time, Ben was recovering from...MAJOR HEART SURGERY! Ten days out of the hospital, he was. So Ben really wasn't fighting at all. He was holding his arms out to protect himself from getting PUMMELED IN THE CHEST.

Unbelievable, I know, but I am not making this stuff up.

After Mr. Bell pushed Ben on his ass, and then shoved him around a couple more times, I was able to get them to stand down. At this moment, I can't recall how....but it may have been my threat to call the police or my admonition to Mr. Swell that Ben just had MAJOR HEART SURGERY 10 days prior.

There we stood on the sidewalk in front of my house - Mr. Swell, red-faced protruding-neck-veins yelling in our faces that the neighborhood kids are frightened of Ben and I because we, "Yell at the kids." Ben and I were "Bad examples" to the neighborhood kids.

And we did yell at some of the kids in the neighborhood. I yelled at a kid who was about to smash another kid in the head with a skateboard. I yelled that I would call the police if they didn't stop. Guilty as charged.

Ben yelled at his own son - who was in a group of kids - to stop throwing tennis balls at passing cars. Also guilty as charged.

But Mr. Swell didn't take to kindly to the fact that I called him a hypocrite for yelling in our faces and admonishing us for yelling simultaneously. Said he'd start bringing his lawyers in on all of the neighborhood business if any of our kids as much as sneezed at his son.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to say before the fight broke out between Tony and Boston, Mr. Swell yelled at Boston something to the effect of, "Go ahead, Boston. I'll take care of Tony's father." And Mr. Swell's own son pulled Tony over to Boston in order for the pummeling to take place.

But I would not stand down. I was tired of being bullied by that ass. Calmly, yet firmly, I said to Mr. Swell, "This is exactly why I don't talk to you any more. You are a bully. The only time we have contact is when you are attempting to berate my children, my husband, or me in an effort to intimidate us. So if there is any bully in this neighborhood, it's not Boston and it's not your son - it's you."

He was floored. Never did he think of himself as being the bully. It was always "us vs. him" in his mind. But when faced with the scenarios of our last four or five interactions, he felt the weight of the truth. And then he surprisingly admitted, "Wow, I was really an ass today, wasn't I." We agreed.

Over the next ten minutes, we actually were able to iron out our differences. I sealed our peace with a handshake and a man hug. Ben and Mr. Swell did the same.

Later on that evening, Poetroad verified what I had been thinking as I witnessed the events unfold that day: Mr. Swell was a loose cannon just waiting to go off. Who knows what will trigger the next outburst. We also concurred that things would (hopefully) be good with Mr. Swell for at least three or four months - or whenever Mr. Swell could manage to forget about the events of that day.

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