You Can’t Bring That In Here
“You can’t bring that in here,” I said to the couple, only to be met by blank stares. They were stoned, for sure, and weren’t tracking that I was pointing to a bottle of wine they were carrying, the cork having already been pulled and stuck back in the top.
“The wine,” I spelled it out. “You can’t bring that in here. No alcohol.”
“Dude,” the guy said, starting to argue with me. Why is he calling me Dude when I’m a woman? That just seems stupid and wrong. And makes me even more inclined to enforce the rules.
I interrupt him. “Dude,” I say back him, “There’s no alcohol, sorry.” I point to a big sign that lists the prohibited items, alcohol being third on the list after weapons and drugs, followed by glass containers, dogs, and chairs over 13 inches tall.
The couple stares again. They’ve paid $100 a pop to get in and now they’re arguing about a bottle of wine that probably cost them eight bucks. And the line is growing behind them, people shuffling and sighing and giving them irritated looks. They keep staring, not able to grasp their choices.
I need to spell it out. “You can throw it out,” I point to a big barrel that is by now about half full of forbidden items. “Or you can get out of line and go drink it before you come in.” I point away from the line, over toward the parking lot.
“Hey jerk-off,” I hear suddenly. “We’re all going to miss the show if you don’t get moving. Just throw out your fucking bottle and move on!” There is a big sunburned guy in a tank top behind the stoned couple and he has now inserted himself into the situation. Clearly when he got his sunburn, he was wearing short sleeves. Maybe he’s trying to even it out now and get his shoulders burnt too. He is carrying two chairs, which look like they will meet the 13 inch rule and be allowed in, a blanket, and a ziplock bag of sandwiches. This isn’t his first rodeo; he knows what to bring and not bring. His wife, smaller but equally sunburned, is looking a bit embarrassed. She’s carrying an event T-shirt she bought from the knock-off vendors in the parking lot, having saved probably $10 by buying that one instead of the official ones inside.
The stoned couple turns toward the sunburned man. “Dude,” the guy starts. He pulls the wine bottle from the striped hippie-bag he’s carrying. FInally, he’s starting to get the message here. Sunburn guy is pointing to the trash barrel when the stoned man swings the bottle out and starts an arc with it toward the man’s head.
Didn’t see that coming. Luckily, sunburned guy did. He may have drunk a six pack of Bud Light in the parking lot but his reflexes are quick. And stoned guy, well there is nothing quick about what he’s doing. Sunburned guy easily blocks the arm that’s swinging the bottle and the bottle flies, people moving out of the way as it hits the long dry grass with a thunk, cork still in. Sunburned guy’s other arm comes up and his big fist hits the stoned man square in the cheek and he’s down for the count.
By then, my colleagues hear the commotion and we’re all on it. Me, I’ve got the Taser out and really want to to use it. But on who? Stoned guy is down and not going anywhere. His girlfriend has drifted off, maybe changing her mind about going to the show after all. Sunburned guy was red to start with, but now his face is even redder with agitation. He’s rubbing his hand, not moving toward the guy on the ground. “Dumb shit,” he mutters. Then he turns to us, sees my Taser and the look on the other Security folks’ faces.
“Hey,” he raises his hands. “He swung that bottle me.” He points to me, “She saw it. I was just defending myself. All I want to do is get in to hear the Thich Nhat Hanh. I don’t want any problems. I don’t know why he did that. Guy was obviously stoned or something.”
By now the crowd is buzzing and people are all taking videos with their phones and texting their brothers-in-law. “Nothing to look at here,” my colleagues and I say in the loud authoritative voices we learned at security school. “Get back in line!” I return my Taser to my belt, disappointed. One of the bigger men on the security crew is hauling the stoned guy to his feet and getting ready to put the flex cuffs on him. I radio the supervisor to call local law enforcement to drag this idiot away.
I look in the sunburned wife’s bag and then wave them through, tell them to enjoy the show. The guy looks flustered and you can tell his wife is relieved. Me? I’m glad he didn’t get hurt and I’m still bummed I didn’t get to use my Taser.