The Company I Keep

“Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.” – Miguel de Cervantes

Yesterday, I woke up inexplicably early, ate some food, and took care of business all before football started at 3 PM. Seeing as I only had about 5 hours of sleep, I thought I would need a nap, but that was not the case.

Instead, I watched the Cardinals beat the Eagles (YEAH!), and then the Steelers beat the Ravens (FUCK YEAH, here we go!). Our friend, we’ll call him Lanky, came over to watch the Steelers game. He was tripping on acid and already pretty drunk. Some alarms went off in my head once he told me that, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, because I am a chill guy when I am on acid.

This guy however, was pretty damn ignorant. Lots of yelling and screaming, which is normal because we are in Pittsburgh and it was a close game for the most part. But this guy, his yelling and screaming was filled with lots of “YEAH NIGGA’S,” (he’s Black) towards white people, which weirded them out. He also told a lot of stories about “fucking bitches,” that I really didn’t care for. At first, he was kind of funny in a “let’s laugh at him” kind of way, but later on it was more like, “when will this guy shut up?”

At one point Lanky  punched our Christmas tree, which we should have taken down awhile ago. He was making fun of us about it, and we were in turn teasing him about being angry about a Christmas Tree, then he got pissed and punched it. Not necessary at all.

After the game, he downed a good bit of our Smirnoff liquor. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s not like I would have told him “no,” either. He starts yelling, “let’s go to the bar!” But no one wanted to go with him. My roommate and the other dude that was with us felt more like chillin’ so they stayed put, but not before Lanky tried to physically move them off of the couch.

I had already planned on going out, but I was hoping that I wasn’t going out with him. I should have, from the get go, told him that I really didn’t feel like going out with him, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I have this whole theory on not doing something because I don’t want to hurt someones feelings, I think it’s actually the opposite, the action is actually not done because I  don’t want to hurt my own ego.I want to be able to say that I did or didn’t do x or y for this person, rather than just doing what I feel. Still, there is the emotion of compassion to factor in. I really didn’t care if Lanky liked me or not, I should have just been honest.

Instead, Lanky and I walked to the bar. It’d be about a thirty minute walk since neither of us drive. Lanky, having just downed a sizable bit of alcohol, is SUPER belligerent. He is walking down the middle of the street, yelling, “GO STEELERS,” but if the person doesn’t answer or tells him to get out of the way, because he is in the middle of the STREET after all, he’d respond, “FUCK YOU NIGGA!”

At one point, we see this guy who is all decked out in Steelers gear, and he has two terrible towels. When he approaches us, he’s like “HELL YEAH GUYS!” He was being as nice as can be. Lanky, however, immediately went for this guys terrible towel, and tried to snatch it off of him. The guy yelled “NO, that’s mine!” Lanky, in turn says, “I want to have it!” The two go on to have an argument that turned into a snatching contest. I shook my head and continued walking.

A few moments later, I look back and there he is running to catch up to me, “Yo, LEIGH, wait up!”

Sigh…

Not too long after we started walking again, Lanky started yelling all kinds of random shit. He would even do this like, war cry where his face started shaking. Then he tried to punch the glass out of an advertisement display in a bus shelter. He was really buggin’.

Later on, he was yelling his random shit, and then this older black guy approaches him:

Older guy: “Yo, I’m with you black man.”

Lanky: “Hell yeah!”

Older guy: “Yo, let’s roll on some niggas, straight up rob ’em!”

Lanky declined, but it’s at this point I decided that I’m not hanging with him anymore. He was negative and attracting negative people toward him. I told Lanky, that I wasn’t rolling with him anymore. He didn’t want to hear it, he just said, “Leigh, fuck that, let’s go!” We started walking some more, he’s in the street yelling at whomever, then finally I just stopped. I didn’t do anything, I just stopped, dead in my tracks.

Lanky hadn’t even noticed that I stopped walking with him and strolled down the street.

Whew…

The thing with Lanky is, that he used to actually be a very mild-mannered person. Lately however, this is a theory that my roommate proposed and one that I agree with, he has gotten it into his head that he does not fit into the black stereotype enough and has therefore gone overboard in trying to adhere to it. Nowadays, it seems like he goes out of his way to be ignorant, using lots of “niggas” and bitches” when he didn’t before, and being on some ‘I will fuck somebody up if they step to me’ type deal.

I remember at some point during the game, he said to me, “I love you Leigh, but we’re like two different people.” I didn’t even ask him to clarify, because I knew what he was saying. I am not “niggerish” enough, I have gotten it my whole life.

Ugh, as you can see I’m still pissed off about this, and I carried these negative emotions with me when I finally made it to the bar.

I get to the bar, and I see King Lear making out with this girl he’s been seeing. He is not even letting up for air. I don’t want to be around his smooch-fest so I go downstairs. I see this guy, South American, who buys me a beer.

South American is a guy who I thought was my friend many years ago. Then he had sex with my ex-girlfriend (The One) a week after we broke up, impregnated her, then left me to pick up the pieces. South American has a reputation for being a VERY violent individual, so whooping his ass was not an option.

Everyone that knows him tells this story about how he cut a mans eye out for hitting his mother. This was back in his home country.

I tried to be cordial to South American. Partly because I don’t like beefing with people, but also because he’s pretty scary. He told me this long story about how he was jumped outside of  the same bar we were at one year ago by six dudes. He didn’t have any other options and had his knives with him (he’s a cook), so he went to town. He cut this one guy on his arm and he had to go get 47 stitches. Wild.

South Americans trial is this week so naturally he was a little nervous about the situation. I guess talking to me about it was therapeutic for him, I don’t know. Maybe he was trying to scare me so I wouldn’t retaliate on him for doing my ex-girlfriend like that.

I didn’t stay too long at the bar because I was suddenly not in a good mood. I did manage to go upstairs and say hi to King Lear. I pulled him away from sucking face long enough to have a brief conversation with him while his girl went to the bathroom. After all that, I walked back home, watched some porn, then passed out. I hadn’t had much sleep the previous night and it felt good.

On the way home, I thought about how I am surrounded by crazy motherfuckers in my life, and what does that say about me?  This is by far not the majority of my friends, but I do think they fill a certain void for me personality-wise. I think that, deep down inside, I admire these people, because they do things that I would be afraid to do.

I remember, maybe a month ago, King Lear and I were at the bar, and this guy BLATANTLY cut me in line for the bathroom. He’s taking a piss, and I’m talking to him like, “yo, you just cut me in line!” The guy says, “no I didn’t!” He keeps taking his piss. King Lear interjects, “actually, you did,” but he’s not paying attention, he’s washing his hands.

There was nothing I could do at that point, he was already pissing. I felt like getting in his face, and being like, “yo, you WILL respect me!” But instead, I just let him go. Afterwards, King Lear says to me, “I would have whipped out my dick and pissed on HIM!” and I am sure he would have.

People treat me like this because I have a lack of self-confidence. Therefore, I allow this shit to come into my life. If I was assertive, and shoved the guy that cut me out of the way as I went to the toilet, there would have been no issue. Not even a need for a fight. I feel like I am constantly stepped and picked on and just wish it would stop.

Guys like King Lear, South American, and Lanky, I admire them because they have balls. I don’t think they make good life decisions, but the fact that they are so confident and unafraid of everything makes me look up to them, and that’s why I hang around them.

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