The place of employment was uncharacteristically quiet, with the occasional drunk, and a few bored conspiracy theorists. I should've taken the day off to spend it outside, since it was beautiful when I got out, and since the buses were backed up, me and one of my coworkers started walking downtown, encountering an increasing amount of drunks in various shades of green and varying states of wastedness.
I'm already feeling like I'm getting old even if my boomer overlords party harder than I do. I was glad I had someone with me who's also a fast walker so we could get past the stumblers and stragglers as bottles rolled past us from patios and the noise was deafening. Everyone looked half dead with their faces streaked in green paint and their red eyes. "It's like zombies," she says, "we've just got to get past them to get home and not make eye contact."
We got to the square and it was total chaos, and it was clear that something had gone down but we couldn't tell what. There was this tension in the air, the way that everyone was acting, I've never seen so many cops, so many cruisers and paddy wagons and after spending the afternoon reading about the Balkans and being jittery about massive displays of authority and the mentality of large drunken crowds it made me a little more than nervous but some weird survival instinct kicks in and I just move faster.
I couldn't process it completely, everything going on around us. The sound of yelling and sirens everywhere, masses of people swirling, cops in various states of uniform, cars trying to cut across, people getting belligerent, gang colors standing out from the green (like no one's gonna notice you head to toe in red if everyone else is themed different), new black panther types in berets and combat boots, way too many people looking for trouble in one place and we not-garishly clad white girls were able to dash across the street before the light changed, only to encounter more cops telling us that Tower City was closed and we had to go around past drunk girls crying on the phone, kids hanging out looking pissed off and menacing.
The entrance from the back was strangely quiet but when we got down to the platform it was cordoned off with what looked like bike racks and there were more cops in bulletproof gear with DHS prominently displayed, as drunk kids in Iron Maiden t-shirts who'd written "F--k Cops" on their knuckles with markers told us about how drunk they were and how awesome all this was.
People were standing around, trying to figure out which way to go, a girl was drinking a Budweiser on the platform and we caught the first train out which smelled like beer and weed as the bros who must never ever ride public transit ever were like "Dude! We're on a big bridge!" and were hitting on Puerto Rican chicks and calling people honkeys which was bearable and almost hilarious because this was more expected and I only had about five minutes before I'd get off at my stop. I was still so tense when I got to my stop and finally chilled out with the aid of tunes in the car and the weather being totally gorgeous.
So I get to my parents' and it's chill, and I'm home now, drinking tea and listening to Trees (yay for left-field Brit folkies) reading about what was about three hours of brawling and such in the square, which must have been what was going down when we were trying to get through.