Saturday, March 15, 2008

Drunks and Cops

I got out of a taxi last night near a "Family Mart" convenience store. I noticed a guy lying in the road beside the curb on the other side of the street. He was struggling to get up, like a turtle that had been flipped on its back. A very very drunk turtle in a T-shirt covered in mud and rain. He finally made it to his feet and staggered onto the sidewalk and grabbed ahold of of a wall which steadied him for a moment before he went barreling backwards toward the spot he had just been lying in the road, as if a bungee cord was attached to his spine. He tripped over the curb and landed on the back of his head. HARD. The sound of his skull smacking against the pavement made me feel fairly sick. I dropped the bags I was carrying and went over to try to help him. He was already struggling to get up again.

"Ohhhhh," I said to him, "You're hurt." I put one hand on his buzzcut head to see what damage he'd done to himself. He was bleeding pretty good. He clasped my forearm and tried to pull himself up. "You should sit down, you're hurt," I said again, but he was already halfway up.

"Jenny!" I heard my name being called. A woman stood in the doorway of Gimbap Jongu - a little restaurant that stays open 24 hours and caters to the late night drunks who nosh on ramen and gimbap. The franchise near my school does a good soon doobu jjigae but the spot the lady was calling me from makes a watery version I don't enjoy as much. I've only been in there a couple of times in over three years, and I was surprised the lady knew my name.

She crossed her arms in front of her. "Hajjima!" she instructed ("stop it!") and pointed at the drunk guy who was up and veering across the street. She looked disgusted, and told me he was a crazy man. "What can I do?" I asked her. "He's hurt and he's bleeding." By this time he'd already connected and got tripped up on the curb on the opposite side of the road. He smashed to the ground and was sitting there in a puddle swaying back and forth. "We called the police," the restaurant lady told me, and she pointed down the street where I saw flashing lights approaching. I walked over to drunk guy and asked him to stay down. He reached up and grabbed my arm again and said "thank you." Then he let go, turned his face to the side and puked. I stepped back. He swiveled onto his hands and knees and barfed some more. And some more. Ugggh.

The police pulled up and I told them he was bleeding at the back of his head. "He's very drunk."
"Yea," said the older cop who was coming around from the driver's side.
I retreated across the road and into the convenience store to get a bottle of water. The two girls at the cash register were giggly at seeing me and one of them loudly showed off her mad English skill and proclaimed, "I love you!"

I never know what to say to that.
Usually it's "Ha ha ha, jinja?" (Really?)

Back outside drunk guy had stopped throwing up and was battling the police. He actually wanted to be taken away, and kept trying to get into the back of the police car, but the door was locked. He was so abusive toward the cops and I was amazed at their patience. If Buddy was in Toronto and had carried on like he was I'm sure he would have been in handcuffs after a couple minutes. Drunk Guy was screaming at the cops. "Ten baby animals! Eighteen nomas!" and so forth. I gathered before I'd shown up he had terrorized the ladies at Gimbap Jongu and the woman across the way who runs a tent where you can sit on plastic chairs and eat jja jaa myun. Everytime that woman would come near him (she was trying to close up shop) he'd lunge at her and the cops would restrain him. He'd already kicked all her supplies all over the street. He went to kick the younger cop, who grabbed his leg and yanked it upwards, flipping Drunk Guy backwards and onto the pavement again. He got up and swung at the younger cop again, but the older cop restrained him - and didn't seem too pleased at having is uniform muddied up in the process.

A couple guys who knew Drunk Guy showed up and started to handle him. One of them kept slapping Drunk Guy across the face full force. Drunk Guy would them bow deeply and apologize. And then he'd run and jump on the hood of the cop car. It was quite the show. His buddy would coax him off and then slap him silly again. The woman from the restaurant brought his clean white company jacket out, and Drunk Guy clumsily put it on over his filthy T-shirt. The cops went away and a van with flashing lights showed up. Drunk Guy's buddies shoved him inside. I wonder where the van took him. The crowd that had gathered dispersed and the show was over.

I headed home.

5 comments:

Annie Mosaic Cat said...

I, for one, am deeply grateful that you did not post any photos of the pukefest.
You are one classy broad.

rwellor said...

Oh man.. that's hysterical in a classically messed up Korean way.

Tanya said...

Ohh that was painful to read. chances are the cops already knew him. I'm sure you were glad to get home to some sanity! :-)

outre said...

I have no idea how i came across your blog but got a kick out of the

"ten baby animals" and "eighteen nomas"

took me a while to get the ten baby animals though... But now I refreshed my memory of Korean curse words hehe.

lindsey starr said...

I laughed so hard at the beginning, then it turned to just feeling like it was a messed up situation that went on too long. glad you got to get out while the getting was still good!

I must say though, I do always love reading your tales of things you encounter and observe. You have a great way of telling a story!