Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saftey First?

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there was a skirmish outside a bar on Saturday night.  We were not so much involved in the action as we watched it whirl about us. The more I thought about it, I realized I'd like to elaborate just a bit.

Carla and I talked through what happened last night.  We both agreed that it was a bit surreal, like the scene out of a movie in two senses.  One - a movie in a foreign country that is on the verge of war and one side of the debate is trying to evict the foreigners; Two - it felt a bit like a movie that you'd walked in on 3/4 of the way through, at the highest action point, but had no idea what had happened to get the scene there.(Two names have been omitted and instead I will use She/her and He/him in bold letters to differentiate.)

The bar was packed, absolutely to the rafters.  Her purse was a very small clutch and she had it under her arm with the chain over her shoulder.  The thief didn't take the whole purse.  He didn't pull it off her.  Somehow he managed to pull the phone out undetected.  Of course with all the jostling, pushing and yelling, you could have snuck someone's kidney out without them noticing.  His phone was taken from a pocket.  Not the money or the smokes that were also in pockets, just the phone.  From the way we'd been hassled passing through the crowd there were several people it could have been.  Both of the victims indicated they thought it was the guy who'd been the biggest loud mouth. He was an unimposing Indonesian of about 20 or so.  Ugly jacket and a big mouth to boot.  He'd pushed along to follow near us in the club and was obnoxiously yammering the whole while.

Her phone was found to be missing first.  I don't think his went missing until after He'd gone back in the club (we'd made it out to the patio) looking for Her phone. The two of them then went looking for this guy.  Now, if you or I stole something we would immediately leave the premises.  Not this jackass.  He stuck around long enough to be found.  He got him by the collar and was forced to let him go by two friends who didn't know what was happening. Once informed, the aforementioned friends went along with Him to hunt the thief out again. A friend of the thief was found and he made promises of getting the phones back which fell on skeptical ears.

Security was roused from a slumber somewhere to join the group standing around and gawking like eighth graders in a hallway push about. At this point my group decided it was a pointless venture and we made slowly for the door.  Upon exiting, we made sure we were still nine together and headed towards someone's car.  As we neared the car, the same friend of thief approached again making promises of phones to be returned.  There was a bit of shouting on both sides and then my group piled in the car.  This is when I feel like I must have missed something.  We got in the car and to pile nine in a mini van took a few minutes.  After we were all in, the car was surrounded and several very, very drunk Indonesians who had not been even peripherally involved, started pounding on the doors and windows.

There were punches thrown from the outside in through open windows that hit Him. The driver (an employed driver) not only bailed from the car, but took the keys with him.  Bastard!  We were stuck in what was fast becoming a lynch mob. One of the boys managed to wrench the door open and by sheer presence moved the crowd back.  I've been told the Indonesian girls in the car were screaming, though I honestly don't remember.  We spent several minutes in slow motion trying to find the keys or the driver without luck.  About that time several of us made it out of the car and started to head for taxis. The driver was found and a few friendly Indonesians from the crowd helped usher us back to the car and hold back the lunatics.  We smashed back into the car and pulled cautiously away, against my hope of peeling out and not looking back.
Courtesy of michaeltotten.com.  It was somewhere between this many people around the car. . .
Courtesy of scottthong.wordpress.com.   . . .and this many people.
I feel like there are a lot of bits and pieces that are missing from my recollection of the night.  I didn't see the crowd  until they were surrounding us.  I don't know why they did.  I didn't see who hit Him through the window. I don't remember hearing much (not even my heart pounding in my ears).  I don't remember being terrified in the moment, though I probably was.  I do remember begging the boys not to get out of the car.  Not only because I pictured twenty Indonesians piling on each of them like piranhas on a chicken, but also because a couple of our guys had a size advantage and I was afraid they might literally pummel someone to death.
Courtesy of courtneyoutloud.wordpress.com.  This is how it feels now looking back.
I was with our group, in the middle of our group of nine.  We did not instigate this fight.  I do not know what precipitated the mob surrounding the car other than one or two guys being drunk and stirring sh*t. For a country with a population what usually prefers to avoid physical contact, it was an even that took me totally by surprised and has jaded my opinions (at least temporarily) of Indonesians.

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