On Saturday night, we hung around Joe and Maura’s house, listening to songs from Glee, watching Bones, and generally just taking advantage of their free Internet and enjoyable company.
The walk back to our house, though, warranted a Nightlife blog solely for the things we overheard. I won’t tell you which wee hour of the morning it was. But rest assured; Oxford is a safe city, with plenty of streetlights, police officers, and sober people also walking home the same time we are. Plus, we live in a really nice part of town on a main road.
1) Girl in a short, low-cut, sleeveless dress, running barefoot while holding the hand of the boy behind her. He is dressed appropriately for the weather, but he is carrying her shoes and purse. They are both repeating themselves, not listening to the other.
Boy: You shouldn’t talk to me like that. You shouldn’t talk to me like that.
Girl: Please come to my bed with me! Please come to my bed with me!
2) A man is swiftly coming towards us, sometimes on the sidewalk, sometimes in the street. No way would he ever pass a walk-a-straight-line test unless the cop were as equally as wasted. “Hey,” he says when we get close. “I need help.” He looks utterly bewildered, so we stop. He’s dressed nicely, and has a gold wedding band. “Whar’s the tren stashun?” he slurs.
“Oh, man, I don’t know,” I say truthfully.
“The tren stashun?” he says again, unable to stand in one place.
“We just moved here,” I explained slowly, briefly wondering if faking an accent would make it easier for him to understand me in his condition. “I don’t know where it is.”
“Okay,” he said, still looking at us like we can help him. He’s off the curb into the bike lane at this point.
“I’m really sorry,” I say, and I really am. I desperately want to help him. As we start to walk away I say, “Hey buddy, stay on the sidewalk, okay? I don’t want you getting hurt.”
He waves his hand and unsteadily steps back onto the sidewalk.
Where others have made me laugh, this man broke my heart. Why does he need a train to get home at this hour? Where could he possibly have been drinking in the north part of town? What is his wife thinking right now? Looking back, I probably should have flagged down a cab for him. I only hoped he would stumble into the police officers that were patrolling a few blocks down.
3) A group of six or seven men, all forty to fifty-somethings, arms around each other, ambling down the sidewalk—straight towards us. Singing a good, old-fashioned drinking song at the top of their lungs. The one receiving the most support and singing the loudest looks straight at me and reaches out his arm. For a split second I don’t know if he is going to punch me, grab my face, or what, but then he says, “Whoooooa!” and goes back to ambling and singing.
4) Two men standing on a corner. As we pass, one says, “Hello, ladies, we need help practicing our English. We are from Spain!” I say, “Uh, it’s --- o’clock in the morning.” He stands there with his arms out, in complete disbelief that we could be so cold. To ease his pain I yell, “Lo siento!” over my shoulder.