Monday, October 25, 2010

The One In Which We Were Almost Killed By Gang Bangers

Since moving to California, we have learned something.  Gangs are real.  They aren't just on the 10 o'clock news.  They live around the corner.  They tag the sidewalks outside our apartment.  They tag the garage where I park my car.  They are real.  And they live here.

We have also learned something else.  In the area we live, our white skin is the minority.  And sometimes that skin stands out in a very bright, attention-grabbing way.

The third thing I have learned is that some people are just dumb asses.  They run their mouth.  They never shut up.  And if that dumbass happens to be white skinned, we get lumped into the group with the dumb ass.

Now I knew all of this before we came here.  But Saturday night, it was real.  Like up in your face, call in security real!

Since we are in California, Vol Fan's precious University of Tennesse team isn't on regular television.  We have found a sports bar that subscribes to an extra sports package and has football games running out their ears.  So most Saturdays (and Sundays), we are planted on a bar stool to watch the game.  So we have become barflies. 

By becoming a barfly, we have met other barflies over the last several months.  One of the barflies just happens to be a fellow Tennessee fan - we call him Tennesse Joe.  We have never really let him into our circle as he is obnoxious and weird.  But since he is a Tennessee fan, he gets lumped into our group by everyone else.

Saturday evening was a big pay-per-view UFC fight.  Another barfly, Matt, invited us to join him at a place called Chinaland to watch the fight.  Unfortunately, Tennessee Joe heard the invite and decided that he was going as well.  Vol Fan and I almost backed out due to the fact that Tennessee Joe was going to be there. [Yes, he is that annoying!]

When we arrived at Chinaland, the place was standing room only.  We saw Matt seated with another couple at a table.  Vol Fan and I went and stood by their table to watch the fights.  Tennessee Joe and his girlfriend, Big Red, showed up and proceeded to plop all their stuff on the table that these people were sitting at.  Didn't ask.  Didn't say thanks.  Just took over.  Strike one.

During the fights leading up to the main event, I looked around.  Other than our little group, not another white person in the place.  I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe.  Until the main event.  Because that's when Tennessee Joe started running his mouth.  Loudly.  Explitive filled.  So eyes were drawn to us.  So Matt turns to him and in no uncertain terms tells him to shut his mouth.  He is not going to take a punch (or worse) because he won't shut up.  Strike two.

During the main event, Brock Lesnar (the white guy) got his ass handed to him by Cain Velasquez (the brown guy - tattoo across chest reading "BROWN POWER").  Tennessee Joe starts shouting all kinds of mouthy crap.  And not shouting at the television - he had turned to face the crowd (of maybe 150-ish!!) and was shouting at them!!  Matt warned him to shut up again.  And again.  He didn't.  Strike three.

I wish I had the descriptive talents to tell how it happened.  But Matt let everyone in the bar know that the rest of the white people were NOT in any way shape or form associated with the loud mouth white guy.  It included Matt shoving a bucket of beer into his chest, demanding that he take his bucket elsewhere, dumping Big Red out of his seat (she had taken it over while he went to get more beers!), and demanding that he take his girlfriend with him.  At this point, security came rushing in and escorted Tennessee Joe and Big Red off the premises.

 I, for one, was very thankful to Matt.

At a fight, people's emotions run high.  And this fight, right or wrong, was a fight that had race as part of the draw.  Add in a mouthy white guy in a bar packed with Latinos and African-Americans, many of which were gang bangers and I am confident that many were packing.  And I don't say that because of the color of their skin.  I was sitting beside an Oxnard police officer (a Latino one!) and he said "Even I am scared in here."  Add in alcohol and things could turn ugly REAL fast.

Lessons learned:
  • Go with your gut.  If your gut says don't go, then don't go.  Don't let peer pressure push you in.
  • Always know where the nearest exit is.  You never know when you will need to make a quick escape.
  • Or know where the "godfathers" are sitting.  I had them spotted and I was going there if things turned ugly.
  • Don't go to a place called Chinaland.  It's not going to end on a good note.


Mental P Mama said...

Tennessee Joe gives all us good folk a bad name. Don't get me started on Big Red. Sorry about the score of the game Saturday, but, hey, at least you survived the night. Phew!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What an absolute idiot!!!!
Glad you survived and learned important lessons.
Going with our gut is always important.
Coach watches the UFC fights at home, I always complain about the cost of it, but I suppose it is safer that way.

Snooty Primadona said...

Good Gawd! What an idiot TJ was! Thank goodness your friend told them to hit the road.

When I first moved our daughter out to L.A. I was scared of their neighborhood right off the bat. They had gotten their apt. through Craig's List (OMG!). I was leaving the next day so I made them go spend the night w/ me @ the Hilton. I was scared senseless, but they were so sure of their (college graduate) decision & I'm not one to preach. I cried at the airport as daughter left me there. I was scared for their lives, honestly. When I got home, daughter called to let me know that it was a good thing I'd taken the insurance on the 17' U-Haul because it had been covered in spray-painted gang graffiti that night. How comforting. Two months later they moved from Sherman Oaks to Westwood, breaking their lease, which I was thankful for. Can I just say here that I was, after all, right?

The first time we went to visit her we were on Hollywood Blvd. & saw at least 3 gang banger groups busted, which daughter said was no big deal, but it WAS TO ME.

L.A. can be a very dangerous place, if you don't know where you're going. When I wanted to see Chinatown she just said "No." Mkay. We had stayed downtown that time, which was a huge mistake, even though we stayed at the Omni. The next trip, we stayed in Santa Monica, which was totally safe. Pretty much. It's all a crap shoot, depending on where you are, really.

I'll ask SD where the place was they used to go to watch football games & let you know. They LOVED IT & everyone was amicable, no matter who they were going for! I assume it would be the same for prize fighting.

I've always loved slumming actually, but not in L.A. Not. A. Good. Idea. You can still go slumming in the better parts of town & have fun, LOL! Let me hook you up girlfriend. I have a knowledgeable daughter...

Snooty Primadona said...

I tried to leave you a comment but dumbazz Blogger wouldn't let me so I left it on Facebook. Argh.....

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Woody, I'm trying to catch up this week after being gone.... YIPES----I have read all about CA and how different it is out there to Tennessee.... I would never want to live there I don't think...

We all do learn lessons when we do things we shouldn't --or get into places where we shouldn't be.... Hope you don't EVER run into TN JOE again... Yipes!!!! (You would laugh at what I think BIG RED looks like... ha)


Snooty Primadona said...

Here's what my daughter sent me:

If they're in the valley (which I think they are), here are some bars:

1. Henry's Hat

2. Barney's Beanery Burbank

3. City Walk (tons of restaurants and places to watch, but expensive parking. Saddle Ranch is a good choice for watching games etc.)

4. The Draft Bar & Grill (in Studio City, where the Texas Exes watch games)

5. Big Wangs (North Hollywood)

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Yep there's always one in every crowd!

Desert Survivor said...

That sounds so scary. I'm glad that it all turned out okay.

big hair envy said...

Woody, you need to come home QUICK!! That's some scary stuff:/