Monday, October 26, 2009

Flashback Friday on a Monday: The Altercation, Hampton Edition

Freshwoman year. Fall Semester. The Union.

I fought a dude. With the exception of being accused of stealing a classmate’s bubblegum in the 3rd grade, I’d never had a physical altercation with a guy (for the record, I didn’t steal his bubblegum. I didn’t know that the classmate who offered the gum stole it from lil dude. He kicked me. I kicked him back. End of story..hahahaha). But there I was being dragged across the floor of the Multipurpose Room (home of the famous Union Jam) in my cream colored Calvin Klein jeans by other students trying to break up the fight.

I guess I need to back up and start from the beginning.

Lets call him LI. LI was from Long Island (hence, the lack of creativity for his blog name). Whenever, I’d encountered LI solo on campus, he was cool, polite, chill. However, whenever I would encounter him in a group setting, he always had something slick to say about me as if I were the Pam to his Martin. Initially, since he was from Long Island (thus, no kind of real swagger as the kids say these days), I ignored him. Until finally one day, I couldn’t take it anymore and told him, “You’re a herb from Long Island. We ain’t friends. Don’t talk to me or about me because you no longer exist in my world.” After his banishment from the real world (aka my world), he would attempt to speak to me on campus and I would look through him like the wind. Eventually he got the hint. Until one night at the Union.

After an organization’s meeting I waited for some a few of my dorm-mates to walk back to our dorm together. I could have gone it alone but it was dark, it was late (for VA so that means sometime around, and I was not trying to be a statistic. As they chatted up LI, I stood a few feet away, entertaining myself by reading page for page of the Hampton Script (SIDEBAR: that should have been an indication that I love this writing ish…I couldn’t wait to read the school paper. Lol). Somehow my name came up in the conversation (wasn’t paying attention), and guess who was yucking it up at my expense? Yeah, LI. Initially, I ignored him and kept reading the school paper. But I guess my lack of enthused attention to his shenanigans was ammunition for him to GO IN. When I finished reading the paper, I calmly folded it and walked over to him with the “didn’t I tell you to keep my name out of your mouth?!” Looking back maybe I should have continued to take the high road and ignored his corny ass. But I was tired of his antics. So my question laced with all kinds of attitude started an argument. The last thing I remember saying was something like “Corny motherfuckas from Long Island always sucking New York City d*ck! Now get off of mine!” (not the most lady like thing to say I know...oh and for the record, I don’t have a male appendage) The next thing I know he grabbed me by my shirt and pushed me into a wall. I was stunned. However, I refused to let any sense of fear show. I’m screaming “Let go of me!” and he’s saying God knows what with one finger in my face while I’m hemmed up against the wall.

A big football player dude came to my rescue and pulled him off of me. Standing between us and holding me back, he tells LI “Man, come on. You don’t do that to no female” to which LI replied, “F*ck that. She ain’t no female. She a bitch!” And spit in my face. You read that correctly. His saliva mixed with a peppermint was sliding down the side of my face. At that moment, I blacked out.

The next thing I remember was being dragged across the floor with pieces of his yellow fleece jacket clenched in my fist and thinking my cream calvins will never be clean again. From what I was told later, I pushed the football dude out of the way and lunged at LI, causing us both to fall to the floor. I proceeded to choke, scratch, punch, kick, choke dude. At that point in my life, I’d never been so enraged. All I remember is the feeling - the rage at being disrespted in such a disgusting manner. And it really is like everything was saturated in the color red.

I’m assuming as quickly as the fight started, it was broken up. Hampton has a zero tolerance for foolishness policy and if caught by university police, I would have definitely been kicked out of school THAT NIGHT (Out by 5 or you’re arrested for trespassing) – no questions asked. When that realization hit me, I cried and cried and cried. Granted, I probably would have been granted a hearing and upon hearing what he did I may have been allowed back into school. But who knows how long that would have taken. In that moment, I could have lost everything. And the most ironical (*yes ironical) thing is, like MJ said, I’m a lover not a fighter. I can count on one hand how many fights I've ever had in my life. And yes the bubblegum incident is one of them.

For the remainder of my time at Hampton, anytime I saw him on campus I would seethe on the inside but was reminded of 2 things: 1) Fighting him (again) now would most definitely sign my expulsion papers and 2) I was comforted by the creative way I got him back. And no I can’t share. But violence was not involved. I swear.

October 24, 2009. Homecoming. Armstrong Stadium.

I arrived to the game later than I wanted to. I approached the ticket booth (Sidebar: $25 for a general admission ticket to an HBCU football game. Damn, I used to pay $2. Talk about a markup…hahahaha). A guy walks up to me; arms open with a “Heyyyyyy!!!! Long time no see.” I looked over to see LI walking right up to me. In my mind, I know he must have me confused with someone else. Before I could react, he had me in a Hampton hug (errybody hugs errybody at Hampton), with a “Janelle, it’s soooo good to see you!!” Huh?? What?? My friend I was with had no knowledge of this history I had with this guy in front of me so she also greeted him with a Hampton hug. He then in turned introduced me to his wife and family. I’m rendered damn near speechless as he tries to make small talk. Just as I was about to walk away, he asks “Did you already get your tickets to the game?” I respond “Ummm, no.” like damn does he want to sit with us too?? Actually, he had extra tickets and offered them to us for farrrrrrrr lesss than the $25 my beloved Home By the Sea wanted to charge me. So far less, it almost felt like old times reaching into my wallet to pay for the tickets.

As I walked away, a few things ran through my mind.
1. Being pleasant, even if I have to fake it, works in my favor. I could have easily cursed this fool out and walked off to pay full price for my ticket. But instead I had extra wiggle room in my budget to buy cute tees at the game and afterward.
2. I wonder if he remembers our altercation in the Union or chooses not to remember it. I mean its not like he can introduce me to his wife like “Hey honey, this is Janelle. I spit in her face freshman year.”
3. Maybe its time to let this go. Yeah, he did one of the most vile things a person can do to another human being but I have to forgive him at some point, right???!! Isn't that what my faith has taught me??
4. He is not aging well. (hey, I may be a Christian but I am not Jesus Christ – no turning the other cheek over here today) The man looked like he has been living a harrrrrrd life. No judgements, I’m just sayin….

Hampton’s motto is “Education for life”. That creed finally clicked all these years later. And I still have some learning to do in this life.


rashad said...

He isn't aging well AND he waved the white flag by hugging you?


makeba said...

Say word! Who spit in your face? LI, who was this character? Life surely has a way of bringing some things back around. Maybe that was his way of saying I was such a jerk when I was a young boy and now I am a man and here is my apology. Btw, you went and enjoyed the festivities without me. Next year I promise I'll be there. Ok maybe not promise, but I certainly would like to see what our Home By the Sea looks like 10 years later. Whew...that's scary.