I wish I had been told this in advance so I could have avoided learning it the hard way: never wear glasses at nighttime in Northeast Valley. I expect you’re surprised, because this is not a guideline that one expects to have to follow, but trust me: it’s advice worth taking.
The rather idyllic picture to your left should explain why my fate was so unexpected; the valley's more-than-rather efficient name should explain where it is. No further exposition is required.
My friend and I were searching for a party for which we had been given bad directions (that was a lie. Actually, I insisted to the party-thrower that we didn’t need directions, as I knew where the house was. When it became clear that I blatantly did not, I pretended that I’d been misinformed and thus neatly shifted the blame for our aimless wandering onto her. So at least there were some victories on this ill-fated evening.)
We wandered up one block, back onto the main road, onto another, all fairly aimlessly; I really had no idea where we were going.
As we got on the main road for what felt like the tenth or fifteenth time, a group of girls approached us. “Excuse me,” one said, noticing that my friend and I are both bespeckled, “but are you guys into computers?”
My response was admittedly rude. But you could also very legitimately argue that I thought we were just exchanging questions, taking street surveys as it were. She was wondering about our interests, so I enquired about hers with “no, are you into penis?”
Evidently, I’d given the wrong answer, because next thing I knew, the girl had snatched my glasses from me with surprisingly quick reflexes.
I tried to remain calm, a task made easier by the fact that I was so surprised by her actions. So after asking for them back a couple times, I snapped “fuck off,” and grabbed.
“Oi!” I heard one of her cronies indignantly exclaim, “nobody tells my cousin to fuck off!”
Somehow, I did not think that now was the time to mention that she took my glasses from me, almost completely unprovoked, so I stayed quiet and we walked away. Turning around, I saw that the glasses stealer had flown into some weird fury, and was being physically restrained by her friends. Wisely, we quickened our step.
Looking back, we should have ran, but we put too much faith in her restrainers. Like some kind of wild animal, she broke free and ran behind me, picking up speed and force until with a crash she slammed her fist into the back of my head, knocking me to the ground.
As I put my hands over my head and she rained blows upon me, I had to reflect for a second on the absurdity of my situation. If eyewear and language choice was enough to merit such treatment, imagine the fate someone doing something worse. While I don’t condone someone else hitting her first, if her response is at all proportionate to the crime that provokes it, I know that he or she will be filled with regret immediately after.
For the second time, her friends held her back, and I stumbled to my feet. My glasses, the cause of the entire altercation, where thankfully unharmed. As we ran away, we heard animalistic screams, punctuated with her sole supporter’s plaintive pleas of “he told my cousin to fuck off!”
The Valley is mostly full of broke students and burnout “artists,” two groups that aren’t generally violent. So unless you want to break this trend, and possibly your glasses, wear contacts if you’re passing through.