Me & My Life, You Had To Be There

“You Grouse!”

Yesterday I was at a BBQ with a few friends. The host was 18 a few days ago, but it’s not as if we needed an excuse. Overall it went well: the weather was warm, the atmosphere relaxing, and of course there was plenty of food and drink. I even managed to cycle home afterwards without trouble.

But half way through the evening, trouble was aplenty. One of my friends there was George1. George is great for conversations, especially during one of his ‘saunters’. A few hours and several drinks into the evening, he suggested that we partake in a spot of saunterage for a chat, and I agreed. I wasn’t familiar with the area, but George knew of a path through some woods. We hopped over the fence at the end of the garden and joined it.

Now at this point, around 9.30pm, it was still warm and light. I was amazed at just how jungley a Scottish wood could be – huge leaves to the left, sharp branches to the right, and shit on the path. At least there were no wild animals. A few minutes later, however, we came across something far worse: complete fucking scumbags (~15 year olds who were a few years below us at school).

It all started out quite amicably. George and I were walking along the path, quite briskly, jumping over the occasional stream, with this group of around 15 boys and girls to the left of the path. I couldn’t tell what they were doing; it’s not as if there was anything of interest in the woods that would warrant the attention of 15 people at once. I wasn’t familiar with the people, I only recognised their faces, but they all seemed to know George.

We were both a bit drunk, and I wasn’t actually listening to what they were shouting, but I think we were being pelted with some rather unimaginative insults. George and I were just joking to each other, laughing at our jokes and laughing at the scumbags. On reflection, I don’t think that they liked how happy we were. I thought it would be a good idea to start speaking in a Glaswegian accent, with lines such as “‘Ere mate, ya looking at ma bird?” (see NEDS Kru on YouTube). Anyway – we just carried on right past them.

We were about 50 metres away when we heard a guy shout in a particularly disgusting accent: “Don’t get wide with me”. Of course, we started laughing at this ridiculous sentence. That we were moving away and not even engaging these people aside, what the heck does ‘getting wide’ with someone entail? Whatever it was, we were sure we weren’t doing it. We turned and inquired as to what that meant. ‘Being cheeky’. LOL.

Oh dear. You know that when a gormless idiot thinks he’s been ‘given cheek’, there’s nothing you can say to convince him otherwise. We carried on along the path, but we were being followed by several of the guys. We were making our way to the edge of the woods where there was a street and some houses, but before we could reach it, another group of guys appeared in front of us, to join those who had ended up following us. We were trapped, in the middle of about 7 or 8 guys2.

It all started in the most bizarre of ways. The guy who had shouted at us originally had another gem of insight to shout at us (or rather at George, they didn’t really seem to direct anything specifically at me): “George you grouse!” Wow. That had me and George both pissing ourselves laughing3 and it put a very large grin on my face. But really – wow. What a thing to say. I was mostly surprised that he even knew a word as complicated as that. He then proceeded to remark to George that his shoes looked homosexual. “Well, I’ve never really regarded these shoes as particularly homosexual, to be honest,” George replied. It was true; his shoes showed no sexuality.

Then, they started to punch us. Really. As soon as the first punch was laid, everyone started punching: George retaliated, and they even came at me. I was a lot taller than everyone else there, and larger too. Although I’m not the most in-shape person, I’ve been going to the gym for a couple of years, and I have considerable strength. The only problem was that there were 7 of them, and 2 of us. Had they been 7 12 year old girls we’d still have been in trouble. The punches aimed at me only struck my chest and arms4 and they barely hurt. I felt that to retaliate would only serve to justify their attack on us, so all I did was to push them away from me and away from George as I could. A few seconds later and the first round was over.

I have to confess, at this point I was still grinning rather widely. I’m not sure why; it wasn’t a conscious decision. I looked at our attackers and it was clear that they were under the influence of at least alcohol, and quite possibly more. I’m not sure what they were saying or what George was saying back to them, but it was clear that with their intoxication and general stupidity, we would not be able to talk sense into them. After all, they had attacked us, seemingly without provocation. Whatever anyone else was saying, I was urging George to leave. We had a clear way out, and I thought the most sensible option would just be to walk away5. Either George didn’t hear me or he wanted to stay, and he continued talking. Obviously I wasn’t going to leave George alone, so I made sure that no one went behind my back, and I was not hit again. Unfortunately, George was not so lucky and whilst he was talking to their leader, some threw the odd punch at him, and there was even a headbutt6.

Another punching frenzy broke out. I tried to protect George as much as I could (they were no longer going for me) but quickly I got into a position where there wasn’t much I could do. I was telling them not to hit George; that it made absolutely no sense to be doing this; and that George didn’t want to be hit. I didn’t know what else to do. George was only defending himself, but if we fully engaged, so would they, and there was no way that we would win. We were outnumbered.

When the punching died down again, I asked to George if he wanted me to call the police (in order to scare them – as if they’d have let me place a call!). In the end, I didn’t. Large red lumps had appeared on George’s face – just like you see in the movies, only for real. I had no idea those things developed so quickly. Strange. Everything about this was strange.

Danny (who George was familiar with and who seemed to be their leader) started talking to us. What he said was complete bullshit and it just angered me. I was no longer grinning. To him, the whole situation made sense. He had been phoned by the guy who told us not to be ‘wide’, and Danny had been told that we were causing trouble when we were walking past the large group of scumbags . We most definitely were not. He somehow tried to rationalise their attack on us, but this was not a particularly smart guy. I was saying that all we wanted to do was continue our walk up to the houses at the edge of the woods. He descended into a broken record state, telling us that we should just move on. Yet he couldn’t make the connection that our goals were the same. Really, the whole situation was just bizarre.

Eventually (and I don’t know how they came to this point), George and Danny shook hands (not something that I would have done), and we managed to leave, unfollowed. I didn’t have a mark on me7, but George had quite clearly been in a fight, though he was OK.

10 seconds later we were laughing and joking to each other – had that really happened? How were those people so disconnected from rational and sensible though? OMFSM.

That was our fun for the night, but it left us thinking. What do we do in such a situation? George asked me how I thought he held up: I think he did well, he returned as many of their (admittedly rather weak) punches as he could, although the first punches were totally without warning and I don’t think there was any way that we could have got away not-punched. Later on, in telling the rest of the people at the party what happened, I did feel that George slightly misrepresented my role as someone on the sidelines feebly asking them if they would please stop hitting him. But for whatever reason, their anger was focused on George, and I feel that I did the best that I could. After pushing away those that attacked me, I think that finding my own targets to hit rather than try and use my significant mass to get people away from George would have made the situation worse. In any case, I don’t think either of us were scared or even worried (though perhaps we should have been). All that was going through my head, and probably George’s was: “What. The. Fuck.”

And what do we do after being in such a situation? We considered reporting it to the police, but decided that that would only serve to waste our time. I was uninjured, and George’s injuries were superficial. What is there to do? Nothing that I can think of.

All that this experience has done is baffle me, and lowered my view of the scum of this world. George said later something like this – “Who would have thought, us, the guys with the awards for being the 2 cleverest in the school, being in a situation like that”. Crazy.

What do you think?



Footnotes:
  1. I’ve not asked his permission to blog about this, but I’m sure he’ll be OK. UPDATE: permission granted 
  2. I’m trying my hardest to tell the truth and not exaggerate. 
  3. OK, slight exaggeration there. 
  4. Probably due to my height. 
  5. Though, on reflection, I think they would probably have just followed us again. 
  6. Surely the most stupid type of attack. 
  7. Although right now my right arm is quite sore. 

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