Here in America, we live in an emasculated society where shop owners are often charged with attempted murder if they shoot back at robbers. We tell our boys to “just tell the teacher” if a classmate bullies them, “don’t you hit them back!” I always figured that was bad advice.
It is different here. Today, I had a fight.
I was taking a bus from Nalchick to Prochlodney. I was alone on the bus with about 35 women and three outrageously drunk young men about 20 years old.
It wasn’t much past noon, but they already had found time to get stumbling down drunk. Two of them began to roam the aisle of the bus annoying the young women, bragging, and generally being obnoxious. The third sat embarrassed in the back of the bus trying hard not be with his friends.
About a half hour into the trip, halfway between the cities, the bus driver, a wiry guy not much younger than me yelled at them in Russia. I don’t know exactly what he said, but the drunks took it real personal. The two of them went to the front of the bus and started a loud argument with a man who was driving 50 miles an hour. I heard one of them yell “I don’t want to!” and then heard him hit the driver.
I am embarrassed to say that I sat in my seat for several seconds wondering what to do. Guess I’m getting old. Then I realized that at the same moment the drunk hit the driver, 35 female heads swiveled to look at me. No one said anything, they just looked.
So I jumped up from my seat and headed forward. I wish that I could say that it was a heroic John Wayne style fight, but the real world doesn’t get THAT good. The bus had stopped, and one of the drunks was hitting the driver while he punched back from his seat. The punchers friend was behind him, trying to reach the driver. I grabbed that one from behind and threw him into the door well. I admit that I am petty enough to have really enjoyed the look on his face when he saw me coming. I’m a really big guy and he was really surprised.
The driver was pushing his assailant away and had managed to reach back and open the bus door. He was a skinny little guy and almost as old as me, but he was a tough old bird. The two of us pushed his puncher into the door well with his friend and we kicked both of them out on to the road. By that time they were not trying to hurt us, they were just concentrating on holding onto the door and not hitting the pavement too hard.
When we had them out, a woman from the back of the bus came to the door, threw their coats out, and spit out the door at them.
We took off, leaving them sitting on the roadside, about 20 miles from the nearest town.
In America, they would have sued us, the bus company, and the nice woman who spit at them. Here, they sobered up, hitchhiked back into town, and kept quiet about being kicked off the bus.
I’m too old to get into fights, but it was refreshing to step back into the 1940’s for a few minutes and live in a world where people were expected to take care of themselves and stand up to the bad guys.