Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crime, me, and war

So, we were up at Harford Mall on Monday, getting a birthday gift for Peggy and strutting around the mall for exercise.  Of course, I had my Rockports on - "Rockports, the leader in mallwalker footwear since 1993!"

But it was what happened when we walked OUT of the mall that troubled me.  Young couple, typically dressed for 19 or so.  She had long hair in several different colors, and he had an Oriole cap, but it was not only on backwards, it sat at a 45° angle on top of his head, only covering up part of his red neck.

When we first saw them, they were walking ahead of us toward the parking area.  He was gesticulating wildly and she was arguing her side of the matter with earnest remonstrance.  I believe he pushed her and/or grabbed her about the midsection, although I didn't see him literally smack her. Then they went alongside of their car, and when we passed, he was on the ground on his knees, either a) vomiting or 2) trying to pick his way into a car.  She was hollering that they had to go, and he replied that they effing would have gone by effing now, if she had not effing fallen down on effing purpose.

Now here is where I have either become mature enough to remove myself from a situation in which I clearly have no defined role, or have become pusillanimous and deserving of contempt.  Yes, I know people get into fights all the time, and demonstrate a severe lack of breeding by having their fracases on mall parking lots.

But I was worried for the young girl's safety.  The look in her eyes showed misery and pain that, only guessing now, did not just arrive there on that day.  And there was a time when I would have made it my business to lumber over to the combatants and just stand there wordlessly, all 6' 5" of me looming like a volunteer moral force. These days, you really have to wonder before you do things of that sort.  This kid looked like a complete stranger to the Bachelor's Cotillion selection committee, and while I'm not saying he was a soulless monster like Meursault in "The Stranger," who's to say he wouldn't have pulled some cheap handgun out of the saggy waistband of his jeans and made a statistic of me?  Had the young lady asked for help, without question I would have stepped in, offered her shelter and called BelAir town law or the real force: Mall Cops.

But she didn't and I didn't.  And while I was probably wise not to butt in, still I wonder if she's all right tonight.  You have to wonder about everything these days.

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