I returned from Sturgis this evening because, well, I can. It's that close.
I returned to "the" bar in town as that is where the social activity is and checked in with the regulars. The regulars of which include this gal from LA who happens to know how to dance and is one of my few "dance partners" in this town. I only met her a week ago, but a nice gal helping her aunt move from San Diego to my little slice of heaven here. Since I already had a rapport with her we engaged in normal acquaintenship conversation.
Now some basic facts about this gal.
1. She is heading back to LA in about a week after helping her aunt move in.
2. She has a boyfriend, I have a girlfriend, we are both spoken for, so our relationship is purely friendly.
3. She is 22. That is a child to me. And yes, I know most men say "hoo dang diggity" but I think "she was three when I was patrolling."
4. She is just plain not my type and there is not one iota of sexual attraction between me and this girl.
5. She is cultured and has an interesting background so her and I can talk about things that have occurred outside the county.
So now that we've established this is not going to be a "romantic" or "sexual" story we can continue.
In our conversation I find out she has:
1. Never been to Mt. Rushmore.
2. Never heard of Badlands National Park
3. Never heard of the Sturgis Rally
4. Never heard of Deadwood.
I was planning on returning to the Black Hills area this Sunday and asked if she wanted to tag along and I'd show her arguably the best 10,000 square miles of the country before she flew back to the left coast. She agreed, got my number and that was about that.
Now understand this conversation was taking place outside of "the" bar. Her aunt, along with her grandfather and other members of her family were inside "the" bar. I hadn't met them, only heard of them and she wanted to introduce me to them. I was about to sit down at the table where her extended family was, but by coincidence at the same time I saw two cyclists I ran into during my drive through Ten Sleep Canyon walk into "the" bar. I was shocked because I didn't think they'd cover that much ground, let alone that their travels would have them coming through my town. Regardless, I excused myself from my LA friend and said, "I have to talk to these girls, I ran into them on my motorcycle ride a couple days ago. I'll be back." and off I went.
I introduced myself to the two cyclists, they remembered me and my motorcycle, we chit-chatted, and I found out they were heading back to Wilmar, MN. Upon finding out I was from Minnesota, they asked me for advice on the best route to take back to Minnesota. I not only gave them advice, but (and this is key to the story) I went BACK TO MY APARTMENT, GRABBED A MAP OF SOUTH DAKOTA, HIGHLIGHTED THE ROUTE, AND WROTE MY NUMBER DOWN IN CASE THEY BROKE DOWN OR HAD TROUBLES (on account I too was a serious cyclist at one time and know how sucky it is to break down in the middle of nowhere with no support).
After giving them the map, I excused myself saying I had to meet some people and made my way back to my LA friend and her family. But upon my return my LA friend was not there. No matter, nothing wrong with meeting new people, and so in a very friendly and innocent way sat down and said, "howdy!"
Now understand 100%, not 95%, not 98%, not 99%, 100 freaking % of my interactions with people in this town upon initial meeting has been friendly. When introduced or being introduced to, it is normally a "positive" affair. They are happy to meet you, you are happy to meet them. And so I went into this environment thinking it was the same. My LA friend wanted to introduce me to her aunt, her grandpa and the handful of friends they had in town. But upon sitting down and saying "howdy" I slowly started to realize something was off.
First, the "aunt" was not this old, decrepit aunt I was picturing that needed the help of her 22 year old niece. She was a 50 year oldish woman that was more than capable of moving herself, but then again who am I to judge?
Second, the aunt started inquiring about me. What I did, who I was, and NOT in the fashion of just being polite to inquire about somebody. It was a borderline interrogation.
Third, her grandpa. He was pissed. He was NOT smiling. He was not happy to see me. He would talk and yell, but I could barely make out what he was saying. Not that he wasn't yelling loud enough, but his tone matched that of the background noise. I slowly was being able to make out what he was saying, and when I did, I couldn't believe it.
"Did he just ask me for my ID?"
This was confirmed when the aunt also asked me for my ID.
"MY ID???" I asked.
"Yes!" they both said.
Completely confused, I had no idea what was going on, and I just showed them my ID. The grandpa started yelling again,
"Where do you work? Where do you live? I want you to talk to these guys (as he pointed to people he knew) and see what they say about you! This ID means nothing to me!"
And finally I realized what was going on. In their eyes some random stranger offered to take their little family member on a motorcycle ride to the Black Hills. And naturally your ole Captain is a rapist serial murderer and they wanted me to prove I was not.
Which I get, but only to a point.
After showing my ID, neither the aunt or the grandpa were satisfied. The grandpa was no less pissed off than he was before and the aunt started in on some BS about how her niece was "her little girl" and how she "promised her mother she'd look after her." Never mind this girl lives in LA, goes salsa dancing all the time and certainly has ran into harrier situations than what she would here, not to mention has probably done things her mom, aunt and grandpa would not approve of that most normal 22 year olds do. And let's not forget, she's 22. She's an adult and ultimately the authority legally rests with her. That being said, I opted not to antagonize the "helicopter family" more than they already were by the mere fact I existed.
To assuage them I beckoned over the proprietor of the bar. Arguably the most respected man in town in that he runs "the" bar and will PERSONALLY drive people home if they've had too much to drink. I said,
"Marcus, will you tell them what my name is?"
He said, "His name is Aaron."
I re-handed my ID to the aunt and said, "look, see there!"
I then asked Marcus another question:
"Marcus, can you testify to my character?"
Marcus said, "Yes, he's a good guy. You don't have to worry about him."
And thinking having the owner of the largest business concern in town vouch for me, the grandpa yelled,
"I DON'T KNOW HIM! I DON'T KNOW MARCUS!!!! AND I DON'T TRUST YOU!"
At that point I didn't personally care if grandpa was older than me, and I couldn't care less if he fought in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II AND Afghanistan. I never felt so at peace with the idea of beating the utter crap out of an older, helpless man with his own oxygen tank. Of course for legal reasons I didn't pursue that avenue and realized what was really going on. This helicopter family really didn't care about the safety of their daughter as much as they did going on a power trip and flexing their "muscle" to stroke their own egos. It was all about them and I was just the unaware mouse the cats decided to play with. And upon making this epiphany I decided to leave, but of course not without slinging a few arrows their way.
As I gathered my gear, the aunt, who was obviously beholden to grandpa said, "Sorry, I just don't think we can let her go."(which particularly irked me because it implied this girl was property and not her own person)
I said in return not bothering to look at her, "Think what you want. She's 22 and she's going to do whatever she wants. She's got my number and if she calls, we're going."
And with that I got up and left.
I made my way out to my motorcycle and it was as if there actually was a god and he wasn't a sadistic bastard and actually threw me one across the plate. For as I approached my bike there was one of the local town's boys. A 10 year old who is well known enough that the locals watch over him even though his brother may be a couple blocks away and his mom's always at one of the bars. I gave this kid a fossil when I first came here and consequently got on his good side. The fact I have a crotch rocket also endears him to me. That being said, it was pretty late, and when he came up to say hi, I said, "Where's your mom?" At this exact same time the aging aunt came out, presumably to apologize to me, but instead she got to witness the exchange.
"Mom's not here."
"Well, where's your brother?"
"Well, it's almost 10PM. You have a ride back home?"
"Yeah, my brother should be around. Hey, can you take me on a ride on your crotch rocket?"
"For the fifth time, no. Not unless your mother is around and you get her permission."
Now let me re"cap" at this point.
Tonight, I have thus far:
1. Gave a map to two cyclists as well as advice and directions on how to get back to Wilmar, MN
2. Gave said cyclists my number and my promise if they run into trouble to call me as they make their way across the barren South Dakotan landscape.
3. Offered to take a gal on a once in a lifetime trip that she wouldn't have the opportunity to do again in quite sometime to see Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, the Sturgis Rally and Badlands National Park ALL WITHIN ONE DAY AND because I was going to do it anyway meaning I had no ulterior motives.
4. Ensured the local boy was taken care of and had a ride home
5. Have neither raped nor murdered anyone today
Now, of course you all know I'm no saint, tonight was just umm..."off" making me look good and stuff. But that being said, I'm no monster either. And what pissed me off is not some much parents or relatives that are genuinely concerned about the safety of fellow family members, as it is the totalitarian, despotic, tyrannist people who ultimately couldn't care less about their "precious little grandaughter/niece" as much as they care about using that person to feed their egos by giving them the opportunity to "protect her" from some innocent and unaware schmoe that had no ill wills or intentions. That the kid/niece/granddaughter acts as a vehicle by which these sick little people get to play out their sick little fantasy where they get to play "hero" when in reality they are merely playing oppressor.
I hope to god my LA buddy calls.
I hope to god we head to the Black Hills.
I hope to god they know she's going with me.
I hope to god I return her without a scratch nor a touch.
And by god when I do I'm going to rip those frauds a new one and put them in their places as I am sick and tired of old people using their age as a false qualification for authority and superiority over me and other young people.
I wonder if "hitting old hypocritical man with his own oxygen tank" would ever be considered as an Olympic event.
Sorry, in a particularly foul mood right now.