I could sense things were heading downhill when a very loud old guy started ranting about "eco terrorists". Let's shelve the discussion about whether direct action groups should be considered terrorists for sabotaging infrastructure, because this guy had also decided that Justin Trudeau and the whole Canadian Liberal Party were "eco terrorists". They are all bought and paid-for by the Chinese, you see, who are the ones who are really in charge of the Canadian government. Also, all indigenous-led protest movements like NoDAPL and so on are actually not really indigenous-led but cunningly engineered by a secret cabal of New York "elites" whose only objective is to destroy the Canadian oil and gas industry, without which (apparently) the entire country would be an economic basketcase.
Seriously, this guy's nonsense was an art to behold. It's got to be so exhausting trying to maintain an elaborate conspiracy that the entire world is maliciously trying to stop using fossil fuels just to target and hurt the Canadian economy. Oh yes, folks, Canada has its very own brand of conservative batshittery, ripping talking points from the Americans and then rejigging them to make it sound like they are being patriotically anti-America to court the local nationalist vote.
But i ignored him because who gives a shit about people ranting drunkenly about conspiracy theories in a bar.
It got worse.
A bit later on a young girl walked in for a glass of wine and we got to chatting. At some point she called me "he" and i corrected her usage. Because she was a woke millenial, she decided to make a big fuss about apologizing even when i told her it wasn't a big deal. Which is when obnoxious clown number two decided to inject himself into our conversation. This guy had been at the bar earlier bragging about all of his food and wine knowledge and bla bla bla. He asked me "where can i go to party, where can i party in this town?" I assumed him to mean "where can i find drugs?" although R later pointed out to me he was probably looking for chicks. I told him about a nearby chain bar that would probably have more groups and less regulars, at which point he left. I mean. He was an asshole, but i have no problem interacting with assholes on a superficial level and not being an asshole back, especially if it's to direct them elsewhere.
Anywho, said asshole returned a couple hours later and decided to reintroduce himself to me by cutting into a conversation with my new friend and attack her for mentioning her family's religious background. She was just trying to contextualize her view of gender, but i never got the chance to hear what she actually wanted to say because this guy proceeded to turn into a raging Bill Maher clone. I can't even get into the preposterousness of what he started talking about. Dude was like an honest-to-God real-life version of Sean Hannity, or Bill O'Reilly, or that kind of talk radio dweeb. If you've never been unfortunate enough to watch one of these guys in action, their schtick is to make some kind of inflammatory comment, then wait for the predictably outraged response, then interrupt the person responding and accuse them of a logical fallacy or pick out minor verbal tics, then claim victory without ever listening to or addressing the content. It's television politics 101 - don't ever let the other person say their bit, because then it would become painfully evident that your so-called political stance is actually just a paper-thin excuse to be spiteful. Once you've figured out their game it becomes really pathetic and transparent, but it doesn't make the abuse any less damaging when you are on the receiving end.
And, my God, we had to put up with this fucker aggressively taking down the woman sitting next to me for everything. His vitriol was shocking, considering he had never met her before and didn't even let her speak more than a handful of words. The worst part was when he proceeded to claim me as a badge of his open-mindedness. After mis-gendering me over and over and over, he decided to make a grand show of asking me my preferred pronoun and then pointedly using it once before going on: "see, i am totally willing to give a little, look, this person and i are good friends now, i don't mind what gender this person chooses to be identified as because i am a man, i was born a man, i will respect this person's freedom, and this person respects me too, unlike you who is forcing your liberal opinions on me, i mean, you're talking for this person, you won't even let this person speak, you won't even let me speak" and on and on and on. Like, dude. I am not your fucking mascot. But i didn't say anything because what's the point? Anyway, the girl got progressively more upset and teared up and i guess that helped this dickhead to believe he had won whatever battle was in his head so he offered to buy us drinks to show what a magnanimous and open-minded gentleman he was. Um. Okay?
I hate angry drunks. I mean, i get angry drunk too, but i never point that anger at the people around me. I will rant about work, or my relationship, or society, or whatever, but not abuse other people in the bar. I do not get and never will get bar fights. People who get drunk and want to abuse their peers, like what's the fucking point? How is ruining other people's night going to make your high any better? There's no winner in a drunken argument. Even if you claim victory you are still a drug addict who got your kicks from picking on others in a vulnerable state. Whatever.
Instead of entertaining the guy any longer, i ushered the girl into the back where (thankfully) there was a group of young students celebrating a birthday. We played a lot of tunes on the jukebox and danced and tried to forget. It felt very pure being around people who were unironically enjoying Rihanna and Drake and Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran.
Of course, that was just the beginning of a much longer night and a much longer discussion. It turns out i had befriended a depressive survivor of domestic abuse whose PTSD was triggered by the angry guy at the bar. She had plenty of her own issues to deal with. I mean, obviously. That's why people go to bars, right? To forget whatever other shit is going on in their lives. So we talked it out. She's a Brit, from an East African family. She tried to explain the cultural complexity about how important it was for her to get her father's approval, even as she knew he was an abusive jackass. I don't really understand the black experience, or the Muslim experience, but i do understand depression and self-harm and using alcohol and other drugs to try escape. I listened. I held her. Later, i walked her home, where she was anticipating a torrent of abuse from her strict aunt with whom she is staying.
This is why getting in a bar fight is such a selfish and fucked up thing to do. Here was a woman with a whole lot of problems of her own and along comes some douchebag exacerbating it all. I mean, i get it. Said douchebag was a brown guy, and between his raging nonsense i gathered that he was too brown for the other bar and they kicked him out. Well, probably he was just being a drunk asshole over there too, but again - i don't know the brown experience so i can't speak for him. I do remember being turned back from a bar in San Francisco and i stormed out, convinced it was due to transphobic bar staff. So i get it. If you are a visible minority small things can have a bigger impact. And of course the alt right appeals to this sort of person, because it sets up a structure where gay men and brown guys can also punch down - whether at women, or at first-generation immigrants, or at transpeople, or whatever. But come on. When your "conservative" allies show their true colors and ruin your night with their ignorant racism, why perpetuate the situation by going elsewhere and attacking someone's religion or gender identity? I mean, it's a bar for fuck's sake, we're all here for the same reason. Don't rob the people around you from their brief moment of escape.
I mean, fuck.
Times like this i realize why i like drinking in China. I am sure there are just as many dickheads over there. Actually - hey - i met one at the visa center yesterday morning, which is why i went out to drink in the first place. But because there isn't really the concept of a Western bar, i don't get confronted with dickheads all the time. My life over there is very isolated and i like it better that way. I can disappear into the crowd. Don't get me wrong, i am glad i was able to help out H last night, and i really hope she gets through her current difficulties, but i don't know if helping out one person is worth the stress and the bullshit. Putting up with everyone else's fuckery, i mean urghhhhh. Better to just buy a couple cans and sit in my room. At least i can preserve my own sanity.
Because now i am hungover and i have to go out tonight because i promised and all i want to do is hide under a blanky at R's house and watch reality shows and eat Canadian Chinese food.