I could probably wrack my brain and come up with something someone wrongly accused me of during a spat or a fight, but nothing stands out. In fact, I pretty much have done everything anyone ever accused me of. Maybe someone called me selfish, and I don’t think I’m very selfish at all. But you see, there’s always more than one side to a story. I might in fact be pretty selfish at times.
I once ran across some little gangbangers walking down the road. I got into a tiff with them. My girls cried in the backseat as I got out of the car and confronted them. They had slapped the side of my car as I drove by, as if my car were the rump of a big horse. It was summer and we had the windows rolled down. The gang kids were walking abreast, three of them, taking up almost my entire lane. Another car was coming down the opposite lane, and so I honked to get the kids to move off to the side. It was a slow road, normally 25 miles an hour, so it wasn’t like I couldn’t wait for the other car to pass and then drive around the kids, but when they glanced back yet stayed put in the middle of the lane, I inched so close that I almost ran over a foot. But I was going about five or ten miles an hour. I don’t think I could have hurt anyone.
They accused me of starting a fight with them. This I learned from the cop who I sic’d on them after I had a confrontation with the kids. They were two girls and boy. The girls were 15 and maybe 16, and the boy slightly older. After I got out of the car, that being after they slapped the side of the car as I inched by, we had words. I think I might have said, “What the hell did you just say???” I had heard something like “What the fuck?” as I drove by, probably because I almost ran over a foot.
There was a whole next part of the confrontation, where they followed me to the library, which was just a few yards from where I had first stopped the car, and I was feeling mean and strong, like the 16-year-old in me who’d gone to school with a bunch of pachucas was rising to the top, ready to go to blows if need be. I said a bunch of stuff that provoked them. I was mad that they were so damned cocky and stupid. And that they were probably going to waste their lives, acting too cool for their own good. My anger came out, and I remember feeling ready for a good fist fight.
And my girls were still in the backseat of the car waiting while I turned in my book, which, by the way, was To Kill A Mockingbird, which, by the way, I never read in high school or junior high but in my mid-40s. The girls were pretty scared, crying while they watched their mother walk by three kids who thought they were pretty tough, the boy was bouncing on his Pumas or whatever tennis shoes boys like him wore. And his bling were flying in the air, hitting his chest every time he went up and the bling went down.
Well, what I want to say is I probably did provoke that confrontation. I was in that kind of a mood, and when I drove away, peeling out so that the gravel under the tires of my car spit up toward them, I saw a cop sitting in his car just around the corner. I pulled up and told him that there were some delinquents by the library. Later, when I saw the cop again and asked him how things had turned out, he said that they accused me of saying a bunch of stuff to them and starting the whole thing. “Oh, really?” I said. And then he told me, “Yeah, but who was I to believe? A middle-aged woman with kids or a bunch of delinquents?”
I kind of felt bad for them just then.
-Related to topic post WRITING TOPIC – 3 QUESTIONS. [NOTE: This is the second of three questions mentioned by actor and writer Anna Deavere Smith in an interview with Bill Moyers (see link). She talked about the questions in the context of interviewing people and listening to them. The three questions came from a linguist Smith met at a cocktail party in 1979; the questions were, according to the linguist, guaranteed to break the patterns and change the way people are expressing themselves. QuoinMonkey, ybonesy, and frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman take on the three questions by doing a Writing Practice on each.]
-Also related to posts PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by ybonesy), PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by Bob Chrisman), PRACTICE — Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (QuoinMonkey); and PRACTICE: Have You Ever Been Accused Of Doing Something You Didn’t Do? (by Bob Chrisman)