Condensation & storytelling

June 11th, 2011

If 160-character texting limits and 140-character tweet limits ever did anything for my writing style, it was for the better. I used to write like an English major with low self-esteem and a massive vocabulary: you know, the ones who extemporaneously extrapolate upon the dichotomous ubiquity of insignificance while they pump their gas.

I think I unconsciously started to condense a year or so after I started tweeting. The point of Twitter is not to split a story into a few consecutive tweets: it's to pass off the most information in as short a blurb as possible and still retain purpose.

So let's tell a story, a real story, and then I'll condense it for a tweet.

Three days before I graduated (seems like an eternity but actually less than a month ago) I'd met a couple people at Midnight Oil and was then going to head over to the Reynolds Building. It was about six o'clock in the evening and the heat was still leaking back into the sky from the pavement. I rolled my windows down and cruised across the campus.

I'm a fast and aggressive driver (one of my many faults, but I'm actually proud of it) but tonight I was taking my time. I had nowhere to be. My windows were down. The sun was low on the horizon. The redneck behind me didn't appreciate my slow speed.

Anyway, the bozo in the battered late-90s Dodge Ram decides to tailgate me, and we're talking close. He is closer to my car's butt than a dog behind another dog's butt. Now, when someone is that close to my rear, it doesn't make me go faster. I go even slower, so I took my time. Bad mistake.

I turned on my signal to turn left. Traffic was fairly busy, so I had to stop. Bozo almost rear-ended me, he was following so close. So as I turned, Bozo flips out. I see him flailing his arms in the cab of his Ram and screaming something. He peels out, turns into the oncoming lane of the street I'm turning into, spins behind a car, and pulls his truck sideways across the street to block all traffic (including me). I slam on my brakes and barely manage to stop. A dozen cars are braking and swerving everywhere. It's a mess and I'm pretty much in shock and confusion.

Bozo, obviously high/buzzed/stoned/methed-out/drunk, throws open his door, runs around his truck, and makes a beeline for me. I press the button to roll up my window. I'm speechless.

Bozo starts screaming. I'm gonna beat your ass! No muther fcker gonna treat me like that! I don't let assholes like you treat me like that! I'm gonna KILL you! You ain't gonna do none of that shit to me!

And I'm trying to roll my window up and he grabs it and tries to push it down and reaches in for me and I lean away and he's screaming threats and trying to hit me and finally the window goes up and he gets his fingers out of the way and stands there, looking through my window, screaming at me.

Then people start getting out of their cars and running towards him. People on the sidewalk point. And lo and behold, our dear friends at Public Safety drive up in their freshly waxed hybrid SUV. Bozo sees this and gets back in the Ram and peels away. Public Safety follows him back.

Ends up this guy was a nut who regularly plagued campus (harassing cute girls on the sidewalk as he drove by, and toilet papering the front lawn) and the Searcy P.D. had a talk with him.

Great story right? I attract jerks like a picnic attracts flies. It's my personality. Somehow I'm still unscathed. I've got at least six or seven stories like this. But here is the point, and here's the 140-character Twitter condensation:

Doped-up hick blocks car in street. Tries to attack me through window. I'm silent & shocked. Bozo livid. Cops run him off. Still processing.

It took a long time to process. I left his fingerprints on my window for a couple of weeks.