This is another story about the Galaxie 500. I'm talking about my car, not the band. The band is well worth a listen though.
I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I have never been good at making friends. Most of my friends found me, not the other way around. In Peter's case, I was found in an introductory level linguistics class at BYU.
The professor was a really cool guy. Really. His name was Royal Skousen. I liked him. He had lots of interesting anecdotes and a good sense of humor. Once I commented on how I had seen him at Barnes and Noble the night before. He wryly said he was picking up a copy of "Linguistics for Dummies." I mentioned that I had noticed they had a book called "Sex for Dummies," and without missing a beat he said, "I hope it comes in a plastic sleeve." Ah, Royal. . . I hope they didn't fire you for that remark. It was one of the highlights of my long, fruitless college edumacation.
One day after class Peter hit on me. That's what it felt like anyway. Actually his parents had sent him a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and he was putting it into practice. I think he said something like, "I've noticed you make very insightful comments in class, would you like to get together sometime to study?"
I gave him my phone number and we started hanging out together.
One night Peter and I went to a party at Eugene Englands house. Dr. England was an English professor that BYU basically forced into retirement for his liberal views. The party was his farewell, and it was thrown by the Student Review, an off-campus newspaper with which Peter and I were involved. The Review itself died shortly thereafter, and Dr. England didn't last much longer than that. He went on to teach at UVSC before passing away unexpectedly. He had the most interesting home which he and his family had built using salvaged materials. It was a welcoming place, and a shelter. (Though I never got to know Dr. England very well, I did become well aquainted with a friend of his daughters, who was living there at the time, and I spent a fair amount of time there that Summer.) Probably the most impressive feature of the England home was the stained glass rendering of Joseph Smith's first vision. It was beautiful.
After the party, Peter and I found ourselves cruising around in the Galaxie. I was excited because I had just met the aforementioned girl. She had shown up at the party and played the dulcimer. I had never seen such an instrument, and I was immediately taken with the music as well as with the long-brown-haired musician with big brown eyes. She was striking.
As we drove up University Avenue with the windows down, a car jam-packed with eight boys who couldn't have been more than 19 years old pulled up alongside. All of them started yelling and screaming and gesturing the most horrible obscenities at us. We stopped at a light and they continued to abuse us. I calmly asked them what the problem was, but I couldn't make out a coherent reply, just more obscenities. When the light turned green I asked them to pull over up ahead. I was curious as to what I had done to upset them, and still being under the spell of the dulcimer player, I didn't imagine there was any danger.
I pulled over and got out of the car. Six of the boys got out and surrounded me. Again I asked what the problem was. The only reply I got that I understood was one of them spitting in my face. I immediately sent him reeling toward a fence with a right, and once I had him against the fence continued pummeling him as best I could with five others hitting me. One of them kicked me in the stomach and I must have gone down because they all split. I made my way back to my car, where Peter was still sitting, and I stopped halfway to my door to ask again what I had done to upset them. The biggest of them got back out of the car and ripped off his own shirt as he approached me. Alone I could have taken him, but I noticed the others starting to get out of the car too, so I just stood there while Tubby slugged me twice in the side of the head. As they drove away I memorized their license plate.
It took the police detective two months to call me back with any news. He said he had located the owner of the vehicle and was trying to get the names of the others involved. That was the last I ever heard from him. Don't believe what you see on CSI. They can't just look up license plates. It seems they have to actually go out and examine every car to find the one with the right plate on it. How else could it take TWO MONTHS? Meanwhile I was irrationally scared every time I saw a burgundy Honda Accord. I still don't understand what made them do that to me.
The apathy of the police was the first thing about the whole experience that was appalling. The second was the fact that Peter had stayed in the car the whole time. He said that Tubby had opened the door and knocked his glasses off his face, and he had spent the duration of the altercation looking for them like Velma from Scooby Doo. I wouldn't know. I was too busy getting my trash kicked.