Sunday, October 7, 2012

Punched by a Drunk

Tonight as Wife and I left the med school after a marathon study session (well, 12 hours... not really a marathon, but definitely not a short day), we noticed an individual staggering toward us across a bridge near where we'd parked our car. He was very obviously drunk. Very drunk. I've never seen someone that drunk and still able to walk at all. For the sake of this story, I'll just refer to him as Drunk Tim.

As he staggered across the road toward us, I got a closer look at him. He was wearing a Northface fleece jacket, nice jeans, and had on some shiny black shoes. He looked well-to-do. After he staggered across the road to where we were, we had a conversation that went like this:

Me: "Hey, are you doing ok?"

Drunk Tim: Hiccup. "-Yeahwhy?"

Me: "You seem really drunk... Where are you coming from?"

At this point, Drunk Tim staggers into me and almost falls over, so I help ease him to the concrete with his back to the wall. I asked again:

Me: "Where are you coming from?"

Drunk Tim: "Thatway," gesturing in the direction he'd come. Let me just say, I have no clue where he'd come from. There weren't any bars for almost a mile in that direction.

Me: "Where are you headed?"

Drunk Tim: "Thatway," gesturing in the direction he'd been going.

Me: "Were you going home?"

Drunk Tim: "No, thatway."

Me, chuckling a little: "Were you having a good time tonight?"

Drunk Tim: "Always."

Me: "What is your name?"

Drunk Tim: "Can't tella that..."

Me: "All right. Can you tell me your address? I want to call a cab to take you home, or you're going to get hit by a car, stumbling around like that."

No response. At this point I'd like to mention that Drunk Tim is hiccuping so much, I'm just waiting for him to spew ten gallons of beer all over himself. I was making sure I stayed strategically at his side the whole time. As we spoke, I had Wife go put our stuff in the car. No sense hanging out on the street corner trying to help someone with thousands of dollars of laptops just lying around in our backpacks.

I tried again:

Me: "Do you have a wallet? I want to get your address so we can call you a cab."

Drunk Tim: "Yeah."

Me: "Can you get your wallet out?"

Drunk Tim: "Yeah." He makes absolutely no move to take his wallet out.

Me: "All right, please reach into your pocket and take out your wallet so I can see your address, ok?"

Drunk Tim complies, though it literally takes him about five minutes of fumbling to remove his wallet. When I see his address, I start entering it into my phone to get an idea of how far out of town he is. His address is for a completely different city that I don't even recognize. As my phone is looking up directions to his address, I try to make some small talk.

Me: "How old are you, Drunk Tim?" I'd seen his driver's license, so now I knew his name was Drunk Tim.

Drunk Tim: "Older than you!"

Me: "Hahaha, you think so?" I didn't think so; he seemed a couple years younger than me, perhaps. "Tell me how old you are and we'll find out."

Drunk Tim, his brain completely befuddled by the amount of water-soluble ethanol in which it was drenched, misunderstands me. He seems to think my lighthearted banter about relative ages is a serious affront: "Oh yeah, you - hiccup - youwanna GO?!" That's right, he is actually hiccuping while picking a fight with me. He clumsily lunges for his wallet, mumbling angry nonsense under his breath, so I hastily give him his wallet back and jump to my feet.

Somehow, he manages to get his wallet in his pocket and lunge at me with much more coordination than before. I jump out of the way, and he staggers wildly, falling against the building for support. Before I can do much, he charges at me again, this time hitting me in the face as I tried to dodge out of the way. The thing is, Drunk Tim is so drunk that he doesn't even really make a solid fist. Combine that with the fact that he only connected with a glancing blow, and all he really succeeded in doing was knocking my glasses half off my face before I grabbed him by the shoulders, stuck a foot in front of his legs, and pulled him forward, tripping him to the ground. I felt like I was fighting a child, and who hits a child throwing a tantrum? Regardless, my heart was thumping like crazy. This is nuts, I though. What the heck is he doing??

I caught my glasses before they could fall to the ground, and shouted out to Wife (who was still down the street a short distance, putting our stuff away at the car), "Wife! Call the police!" I found out later, she never called the police. She ran toward me and by the time she caught up to us, Drunk Tim was walking out into the middle of traffic and I was following from a long distance, dialing 911 on my own phone.

Drunk Tim proceeded to walk right across the road in the middle of traffic, cars swerving wildly to miss him. I still can't believe nobody hit him. As I stood on the corner of the street across from where Drunk Tim ended up, describing our location to the dispatcher (it took a million rings for anyone to answer...), Drunk Tim suddenly charged across the street toward us, yelling obscenities and stumbling all over the place. I yelled to Wife, "Wife! Run!"

Wife was a little shell-shocked at this point, and I don't think it quite registered that I was telling her to run. Why? Because she stood there. And didn't move. "WIFE - RUN!!!" Wife suddenly whipped out the running skills and took off down the road. In the opposite direction from me. Before I could turn around and follow her, Drunk Tim was between us. I made sure he was following me, then stayed just ahead of him as he slosh-ran after me, screaming his crazy head off. The whole time, I'm giving the dispatcher a play-by-play run of events while she asks me if I'm safe.

End of the story: Drunk Tim stopped chasing me once he ran into a mailbox. He ended up sitting on the street corner throwing his shoes and screaming obscenities at no one in particular (except a couple choice words directed at Wife) until the police showed up and took my statement before arresting him. At one point, as I gave my statement to one officer, Wife  heard the other officer as he grilled Drunk Tim say, "Why would you do that, man? He was just trying to help you out. And it looks like he could've taken you, anyway."

At the end of the night, I learned to just call the police when you see someone so drunk they don't even know their address. And Wife learned that when I yell to call the police (or, "RUN!"), you call the police (or run) -  without stopping to think about it. We're safe, and Drunk Tim never got hit by a car, so that's what counts.


Susan said...

Well good grief! I bantered between tears and laughter reading about THAT event. I like the moral to the story, too :) and glad you're safe and that drunk Tim was not hurt either. You have the weirdest stories....

Shirley said...

I agree with Susan. How sad, funny, and scary for you guys. So happy you are all right.

Rodney said...

Poor drunk Tim.....yeah, you coulda taken him. He's fortunate you were there to have him arrested. You know you're in a bad place when the best thing that happens is you get arrested..... Oh, yeah - "Run, Wife, Run!". This is one of those sadly funny episodes of life. Good job, by the way.

Rodney said...

As a brief follow-up.....sounds like Nicole could have taken drunk Tim, too. :) Always nice to know Wife has your back, ain't it?

Sam ( said...

I'll take a 911 call over a scuffle with a drunk guy anyday. Especially when my wife is with me.

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