By lex, on July 6th, 2004
Sunday evening on the beach in Del Mar. Fourth of July celebration.
We met some friends from church, laid blankets out upon the grass fronting the beach at 15th street. A bottle of (illicit) white wine, appetizers (brie cheese, cheddar, grapes). Got there at 7:00 pm, watched the sun set over the ocean. Chatted, while the ocean breezes turned cool, then cold. Watched the Mexican children play pelota, watched the anglos play Romeo and Juliet. Watched the Biscuit hang out with the surfer kids, themselves looking like nothing more than drowned rats. Watched them very well.
The sun fully set, we saw the fireworks from the Del Mar fairgrounds, the fireworks from LaJolla, the fireworks from Oceanside. Well fed, well met, well content.
A friend of our church friends showed up – younger (30), a little hyper-active. Voluminous, opinionated, manifesting scattered, non-contiguous thinking. I lay there on the blanket, and watched him somewhat bemusedly, quietly. Keeping my own counsel.
The fireworks now over, it was time to away, begone. The feast was at its best. And time to clean up. I’m half way turned away, while the Hobbit is bending over to clean up the remnants of our repast. I hear a loud slap, a sharp intake of breath. I turn to see the Hobbit whirl around, angrily, rubbing at her posterior. Our new friend stands there with an idiot grin on his face. I put my arm around him, and ask him gently, “Did you just slap my wife’s rear end?”
Or words to that effect.
He simpers, he smirks, he confesses. I say to him, “Watch what happens next.”
You may have already read about my rusty judo skills. In one of those strange coincidences (last week I was casting about for a new sea story, and dredged that one up from the mists), they returned to me again. And I laid our new friend on the ground. Not hard. Just laid him down.
He got up, energized, and grappled with your humble scribe. I laid him down again, more firmly this time. Nearly 200 pounds of naval officer held him close to the turf until his movements subsided. And then I stood up, and offered him a hand up, and brushed him off. We shook hands. He was breathing hard.
This is the moment where it can go either way. He swings at me, and it’s game on. He lets it go, and we go back about our lives.
He let it go.
But I don’t think he’ll look to slap the Hobbit next time we meet. And I don’t know that we’re going to be friends, in the long run.
I mean, really.
Is it just me? Should I have let it go? I’m curious what you think…