Watching the video of the motorcycle “gang” for lack of a better word, not only makes me question humanity for the umpteenth time, it brings me way back. Like 20 years ago – even though like most else it seems like yesterday.
I need not think what I might do if a large group intimidated me or my family. I’d plow through the crowd and think about the consequences later. At a therapist years ago (not physical, a shrink. And there is no shame in going for help. Got it?) – where was I? Oh right, the good doctor who told me I had a survivor mentality. I will take care of myself no matter what. Product of deadbeat dad? Perhaps. But if you get in the way of me living my life I will turn into one of those undersea creatures that blend into a coral reef, and pounce on you with venomous precision. And this is what happened way back when.
Brooklyn College, 1995. After being thrown out of SUNY Oneonta for not doing the work. The campus was leafy green and an oasis from the blight just around the corner.
Literally around the corner.
Where I parallel parked my mother’s Plymouth Sundance coupe in a tight space. I walked vigilantly, with my car key between index and middle finger, ready to stab at will. When I arrived at the car, there were 5-6 teenaged boys on the sidewalk talking. Backwards hats, pants low enough to see their drawers, I wasn’t afraid. I’d lived with diversity in Coney Island and was a product of a Jewish ghetto of sorts. I gave them a head bow, that silent hello, and got in the car.
Something didn’t feel right.
I manually locked the door. And backed up, slightly touching the bumper on the car behind me.
The “kids” began to surround the car and yell obscenities at me. That I’d ruined the car. But it wasn’t any of their cars. Banging on my window, jumping on the hood, I did what I had to do.
I put the car in reverse, banging up the car a bit more. Then in drive. And I quickly weaseled out of the very tight spot, praying I would not hurt anyone. But even if I did…I had to survive.
As I got out of the spot, one of them threw a can of soda, splashing the back window. I couldn’t see and I never looked back.
I don’t know what happened on the West Side Highway. But I know what happened on a side street outside a haven of green and books and sororities and science.