Things just got crazy, like they only can in CA...
It started out as a great escape and turned into quite the adventure. A friend offered me an extra ticket to tonight's A's game against Kansas City. I had difficulty gassing up the car, first having trouble with a pump that wouldn't accept my card, then falling back on a plan B when my card was recognized but still declined. I was the last of my party to arrive at the ballpark, but we didn't miss any of the game. There was ease in the conversation, quick fired movie references, and general merriment to be had by all. The home team won, much to our delight (and surprise), and as we parted separate ways for the trip home, I was last of our party to board the BART train toward our various destinations.
The crowded BART train was full of exuberant and tired A's fans. My car in particular held several college age kids eager to make their way to an after party. As with every other after-game train, it was standing room only. One of the more athletic college fellas was making efforts to show off, speaking loudly to his friends, and purportedly hanging upside down on the bars at one point. At the exact point of craziness, however, the young man stood on his own two feet without any hold on a handrail or bench seat. The train slowed abruptly, as they often do, and our young college fella, facing the back of the train, flew forward, landing on his back and sliding up against the doors. In a failed effort to prevent his fall, he reached for the handrail above. The unfortunate result was his wristwatch connecting perfectly with the scalp of an unsuspecting seated passenger.
Initially very put off, the young woman grimaced and griped under her breath as her previously napping mother jumped to her feet and began to berate the young man. Within moments, a trickle of blood from the initial contact widened into a steady stream as the wounded woman's temper increased her heart rate. Anger quickly turned to panic, causing over-reaction and tears in both mother and daughter. Simultaneously, a few different things began to transpire: several passengers cleared away from that end of the train in efforts to avoid being caught up in the chaos, another man felt the urge to intervene, and some onlookers (myself included) tried in vain to subdue the rising drama, but successfully offered beneficial triage advice to the bewildered mother.
The well intentioned hero (as I am sure he will make himself out to be later when retelling his side of things), otherwise a complete stranger to all parties involved, grabbed college fella by his shirt and shoved him against the closed doors to the connecting car. (This brought a small amount of vocalized disagreement to the man's actions, but they went unnoticed.) I suppose he thought he was preventing this young delinquent from causing further harm, but the young man was equally as surprised by this assault as he was by his initial fall and its unpleasant result. After feeling confident he had subdued the young man, the "hero" muscled the boy off the train, dragging the young man by the collar of his shirt.
At some point after the young man was forcibly removed, and the rest of his party followed him off, the mother of the victim finally calmed enough to ask what had happened, or if anyone knew what this boy did to her daughter. I spoke up, explaining the whole thing was a huge accident, and that no malicious intent existed. Though this seemed to calm her a bit, both mother and daughter continued to rebuff any efforts of apology from any member of the college group, including the unintentional attacker and other male friends. Rebuff doesn't quite explain their reaction. Both mother and daughter flawlessly executed formidable stink-eye and practically hissed at the plaintive young men demanding the young men keep their distance.
Ultimately, the decision was made by BART employees to call in a paramedic. Due to the delay this created for the train schedule, everyone not injured, or related to the injured party, was ordered to disembark and put on another train on an adjacent rail. As I entered the other train, I overheard a woman on the phone sharing the story "as she heard it." Bear in mind no more than 20 minutes has passed from initial injury to the change of trains. In this new version of the story (remember the elementary game of telephone??), not only was the college age kid being disruptive, but he was extremely acrobatic — performing flips, hanging upside down, and cartwheeling down the aisle. The cause of the injury was "some over sized bulky designer" wristwatch. This, friends, is how rumors get started...
Finally off the train and in my car, I make it over the altamont pass and begin looking for a gas station. No sooner do I overshoot an exit and spot a gas station at said exit than I run out of gas on the highway, stalling out on an uphill incline. I can see the next exit no more than one half mile up the road, but cannot manage to push my car up this hill, making it only 30 feet or so before having to rest and reattempt. Fortunately I have roadside through my cellular provider (weird, right?), a service which apparently includes a gallon or two of free gasoline to allow me to reach a gas station.
I am home and no worse for the wear, but certainly lived through more experiences than I expected this evening.