San Diego Stories by Salvatore Filippone

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February 02, 2005

Subterranean Parking Blues

The sound of my footfalls kept a rhythm going for my whistling, as I strolled back to my car. The concrete walls amplified the found beat, throwing some tires squeals and distant car alarm into my little composition. I had just finished shopping at the Fashion Valley mall, feeling guilty about spending even more money, but I just had to get that other thing that I needed. I sighed, but was happy about my purchase. It's odd how I felt like I smoked a cigarette that I'd craved all day, and I don't even smoke. My whistle faltered a bit when I saw the two guys hanging out near my car. I kept walking, ignoring them.

Great, I thought, as I continued to my ride. Their energy was focused at me as I approached. As I whistled, I strode, kind of confidently, almost cocky. Would this set them off? I didn't really care. I was already going into some type of defense mode, but what exactly, I didn't know. I looked straight at them. They looked back. They were jamming to some music, leaning against a big red truck. They wore hoodies, one with a Volcom logo. I thought, I hate that friggin' logo.

I had reached my car, and turned my back to them. As I opened my hatchback, one of them spoke, in a soft southern drawl. "Excuse me?", he asked, half-jokingly. I kept whistling, as ignored him.

From behind me came the question again. I heard it, and again ignored the voices. I was busy getting the car door open.

And then, "Hey man, gimmie five dollars!"

I finally reacted, waving them off with my left hand as I opened the door with the other. It set the scrubs off. Uh-oh, shouldn't have done that, I thought.

"Fuck you, you greedy motherfucker! Fuckin' piece of shit rich motherfucker! I'll kick your ass!"

The barrage of expletives continued , drowning out my whistling, cars, and the rest of the world. Their verbal tirade bounced all over that damn car garage, those concrete walls. They continued, muffled by the barrier of my car door. I put the key in the ignition, fired up the car, and put it in reverse. I began to get nervous now, knowing that I had to back up close to them to get out of my spot. I went for it, eyes glued to the rear view mirror, watching for anybody behind me. They were pretty irritated, and I expected anything to happen. But nothing did.

I put the car into first and took off.

As I got some distance between me and my verbal assailants, I finally got a good look at them in the side mirror. Their middle fingers were raised at me, their mouths still shouting profanities. I started to get angry as drove out of the garage and away from mall.

"What the hell just happened?", I thought aloud.

I began yelling my own stream of profanities inside the car, drowning out the stereo. People must have thought I was some crazy guy singing to himself in his car. Heavy metal, for sure. I was pissed at myself for not reacting, but at the same time glad. What irritated me the most was being called a greedy motherfucker, because I didn't want to give money to complete strangers, strangers who really didn't need it. Go get a fuckin' job, you losers, I thought at them. Dammit...there wasn't any security around, and I didn't even think of calling them until hours later.

Looking back, it could have been much worse, but it went the way it was supposed to, I suppose. What might have attributed to those guys acting that way? Bad economy, broken homes, bad attitudes? Who knows? But their viciousness really got to me. In Italian, they say, "Con occhi aperti". It means, "Keep your eyes open." I guess these days, it's a necessity.

Posted by sfilippone at February 2, 2005 01:43 AM