***WARNING: I use some potentially offensive words in this post.***
This past Monday, on my way to pick up The Boss from work, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few things. As customary for me, I parked at the end of the row in the parking lot, and went inside to do my shopping.
The weather has been very hot and humid here in Maine over the past couple of days, and the air has been very thick and heavy. That said, on my trek back to my truck in the parking lot (about 800 feet up a slight uphill grade) after shopping, I began to breathe a little hard. I passed a car parked in the lot, with a man sitting behind the drivers seat, windows down. I gave him the obligatory male "head nod" acknowledgement.
As I walk nearer towards the car, he says "Having a hard time walking uphill, fatty?"
I stop walking, stunned. Did he just say that? This complete stranger, calling me a fatty? I stood there for a moment, and just looked at him. He sat there and smiled at me smugly. I'm obviously angered by this totally unneeded and offensively rude comment.
"Shut the fuck up, faggot."
At that, Rude Man throws open his car door and walks towards me, incredulous. "What did you just call me?" he yells.
"You heard me damn well. Shut the fuck up and get back in your fucking car." I start walking towards my truck. I'm no more than a few steps past his car when he calls out again.
"Hey!" Rude Man is walking towards me with his hands balled up into fists. He is thin and wiry, and looks like he has been wearing the same clothes for a few days now. "Who you callin' a faggot?" He spits the words out like they left a bad taste in his mouth. He is about five feet away from me when he starts to lift his arm up.
"I'm calling you a faggot. And seriously? Don't even think about it. Just get back in your fucking car." I say to him. With Rude Man still approaching, I drop my groceries on the ground and ready myself for the fight that's about to come. Adrenaline surges through me, and my knuckles crack and pop as my hands form into fists.
"I'm no faggot! Where do you get off callin' me that?" Rude man yells.
"Where do you get off calling me a fatty? Back the FUCK off, man."
We're about three feet away from each other at this point. My heart is rattling in my chest, and I can hear my pulse pounding in my ears. Rude Man plants one foot forward, and leans back with his right arm. I raise my left fist up, and take a full step towards him.
"Get back in your car before you make another mistake." I say through my teeth. "Back. The. Fuck. OFF."
I'm close enough to smell that my suspicions about his clothing had been correct. Staring hard into his beady eyes as they dart back and forth, I see a look of nervous fear creep across his face. I tighten my fists again.
"I'm no faggot," says Rude Man weakly, and takes a few staggering steps back. He lets his hands fall down to his sides. I take a few steps back myself, and Rude Man slowly turns around and walks down the lot towards the store. I wait until he is about thirty feet away before calling him a chickenshit. I wasn't about to let such a pathetic excuse for a human have the last word.
Just like that, the confrontation was over... Almost as soon as it had began. I pick up my strewn groceries and head back warily to my truck, a little shaky from the adrenaline but otherwise no worse for the wear.
And that's the story about how I came this close to being in my first fist fight.
For the record, no exaggeration was used in the re-telling of this story.