Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Captain vs. "Helicopter Family"

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,


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?"

"He's around."

"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.


Just1X said...

I know that I'm a foreigner (UK), but why did you give them ID?

I wouldn't do that for a policeman unless he could give me a good reason why.

Most nights that I go out I only take cash with me anyway, no ID to show.

I think that my response to the crumblies would have been along the lines of, "Of course! you're new in town. maybe I'll see you in a few months." and walk off

Anonymous said...


Yeah, I dated this witch once, Jamaican. Took me home to her family, to my surprise, I was seated across from her mom and grndmother. The Grandfather left the room like a bat outta hell. No other men were in the building but me I guess.

Anyways, it is obvious they are going to give me the third degree. I made a smart ass comment, they got up and left. Apparently, they did not want this white guy with their African Queen. It was a good thing. She was a biotch extreme!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gawd!?!??! LOL, seems to me that you ran smack dab into another reality. You are just being yourself and WHAMMO!!!!!!
You have to admit that society has educated folks to believe the worse in mankind. Whether the old coots are helicopters or not; you're sincerity DOES NOT REGISTER in their cortex.
Oh and WTF are they relocating in YOUR town!?!?! Hopefully they left their craziness back at the old place.

(Sturgis '95 and '98)

Izanpo said...

Cappy, you called it like it is. Obviously it was not concern for the girl that was motivating their shitty behavior. Some people are just addicted to self-righteous anger, and if they can't find a reason to go off on somebody, they'll invent one. Always gotta something to bitch about, always gotta have someone to hate/feel superior to.

Don't let petty assholes like that get under your skin. If anything, you should feel sorry for them, because it's gotta be pure hell going through life like that.

Days of Broken Arrows said...

I've found old people to be unreasonably paranoid because they sit home and watch a lot of TV -- almost all of it news and crime shows. These shows give a deliberately skewed view as to how much crime is going on. If all you know is the TV, you'd think half the country is being kidnapped, robbed, slain, etc.

The reason the media does this is that it puts them -- and their political allies -- in control when we're all afraid of each other.

The same goes for racial issues. If you only watched the news, you'd think this country was still in 1963. Yet every day black and white men and women go to work or school and there's usually little incident or animosity. Still, the media plays up what there is because it put them in control: "See how awful things are? Better keep watching to stay safe!"

Also, the ubiquity of 24/7 cable TV has made this all much worse. Time was, the old folks would sit around and watch "Matlock" and be done with it. Now if they can't sleep, there's all news all the time to keep them agitated. You experienced the fallout of this.

Craig from Belvidere said...

I have a daughter (now age 25) that made an almost life ending bad choice in the past. The 3rd degree you got is about what I do now to keep my baby alive. Maybe my daughter will recover in another couple of years if I can keep her alive.

These people might not be evil backwoods hicks but rather they might know things you don't.

Anonymous said...

I hate to take up for the "family" Cap., but I must insert a reality check. You say that the "aunt" was moving into town, so you have to give just a little bit for the fact that they may not be accustomed to the small town atmosphere. People that are accustomed to city life are far more suspicious than people in small towns.

It may turn out that the "protectors" are just jackasses in the end, but it may also be a situation in which they only have a limited frame of reference. Only you will have the ability to judge in retrospect whether you were unfairly treated, but bear in mind that since the girl was/is only a friend, it hardly matters. A positive relationship with everyone else will be a constant source of irritation to them if they hold poor opinions of you.

Anonymous said...

I would never have showed the old fool my ID. "Eff you, gramps!" woulda been my answer to that. Nor would I have gotten a testimonial from the bar owner.

Basically you played into their frame the whole way. Not sure if the alpha exit line can really recoup the effects of the previous beta supplication.

Captain Capitalism said...

Duly noted about frame, but it was something that really broadsided me. I was really not expecting something this stupid.

Anonymous said...

Just offer the the old man a cigar to go with his oxygen tank.



Ryan Fuller said...

Craig, what makes you think you're going to talk someone out of an intended murder with your posturing? Or do you think you can spot a sociopath with a lecture? They're often quite charming.

Anonymous taking the family's side, the proof that they're assholes on a power trip instead of just suspicious is how they moved the goalposts. They go from demanding ID to rejecting the ID as irrelevant and then blowing off a respected business owner's endorsement of the Captain's good character.

Mutnodjmet said...

Captain: I think your first instinct was the correct one -- always better to be polite during initial encounters with the older generation. You have totally earned some serious karma points, so go zen and let the righteous anger dissipate. You are still young, and they aren't -- and that's probably why they were all sour and pruney with you. Bonus -- you have a fine tale to share and a great script idea for a sitcom, if you know how to write a screen play.

LS said...

Knowing they were from California explains a lot.

Joe Bar said...

They just didn't like your motorcycle. Welcome to the club!

Lib Arts Major Making $27k/yr At An Office Job said...

Grandpa got where he was on the count of chivalry, and Auntie buys into it too - which is why they're still together.

He's just committed to the trail is all. Invalidating chivalry would invalidate a massive part of his own identity / past.

Part of this is also a bid to stay useful. As old age creeps, the once useful protector and provider slips into uselessness since he can no longer do those things. Its only fitting that he clings desperately to it.

Go figure that if you were a "real" rapist or bad guy and the town really was "bad" then auntie and grandpa wouldn't stand chance against even one member of a biker gang intent on stealing everything on them and raping the girl.

Funny part about that is that most biker gangs tend to have some kind of a code that usually involves not sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. If only the rest of the country could be so civil.

Anonymous said...

"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."

Sounds like my daughter at 14.