Swedlund’s Vacation Goal Addendum, or The Night I Got Punched in the Face
Rewind to two weekends ago. The addendum was to attend the Okkervil River show Saturday, my last night of vacation. On Tuesday I had briefly texted Sara to see how she’d been. She brought up the show and asked if I wanted to to go. Sara and I hadn’t spent any significant time together since we split. It seemed like it was about time, and I wanted to see the show, so we made the plans.
First I went to The Waypost to meet up with Jason and watch his DJ set. Jason had recently become acquainted with alternative comic icon Al, who actually flew out from Connecticut to do a signing at Jason’s shop. It was a great, well-attended event. Al was at the Waypost, along with an acquaintance also in comics. Turns out Al’s randomly decided to move to Portland. Not going back home. I had a couple of beers, made small talk with the comics people and caught up with Michael – proprietor of the Waypost – and Ricky. Then I hopped on the bike and crossed the river.
I was inches from canceling after I found out Sara’s friend who can’t stand me was going to tag along. Turns out, the evening was great. Sara got us wristbands. We got along fine, and the concert was amazing. Mary showed up. After the show, it was pretty late and we struggled for ideas. We went to an awkward gathering at a restaurant with McMenamins people, sitting around a table in near silence.
Sara and I decided to go somewhere to catch up. We stopped into the Annex and then after were talking on the sidewalk outside. This street kid came up to us and started asking for beer money. He was holding a snapped-off car antenna. We asked him to leave. A lot. With varying degrees of force. We had been kind of having a nice moment. He still wouldn’t leave, so I told him I was going to call the police.
After I did, he said, “Did you just call the police?”
“Yeah, you should get out of here.”
And then he punched me in the face with the car antenna in his hand. The jagged end caught my ear and sliced it open. I staggered a little. He also got Sara across the face with the antenna, leaving a welt. Portland police miraculously showed up seconds later, tasers drawn. They cuffed him and took our statements. My ear was bleeding.
Sara’s co-worker gave us each a ride to our respective houses. I thanked her for a lovely evening on the town, and suggested next time we get together, maybe we don’t get into a streetfight.
Her co-worker drove me to my house.
“Well, thanks. This wasn’t really necessary, but I appreciate it anyway,” I told this complete stranger.
“Oh, no problem. I know how much it sucks to get punched in the face and then have to ride your bike somewhere.”
I called Sara, and we talked on the phone for a good while. Made nice and got emotional. Argued some, just like old times. I woke up just in time for book club at 2. Extremely dazed, disoriented with an slightly aching head and face.
It was one of those unique times when your physical condition echoes your emotional state almost perfectly.