I know. I’ve been having quite the lull. I like to come back once in a while though. Maybe this time for a little longer.
I’m having a bad day. The pictures and funnies are helping though. Tumblr’s like an old friend who can still cheer me up on a gloomy day.
I almost fought a man today.
As I boarded the metro train to work today, there were no empty rows. Only single seats next to people. I usually like to read comics on my iPad, so I prefer not to sit in the front (more open facing) seats. That way, I don’t draw any unwanted attention from would-be thieves. So, as I scanned the train car, I saw an open seat next to a man in the second row and decided to sit there.
As I sat down, I noticed his legs were sprawled wide and very much in “my area” of the seat, but I figured he’d move a little once I sat down. Nope. Just kept his legs sprawled out.
It can be noted that he had sunglasses and headphones on, so I thought, maybe he’s not being rude. Maybe he’s asleep. Since I had no real desire to sit with our legs brushing up against each other, I sat at a slight angle. It was a bit awkward, but fine really. Rubbing thighs with overweight, middle-aged dudes is not really my jam, anyway.
I started to read my digital comic book. (“Ultimates 2” #6, I’m catching up on a lot of Marvel stuff now that I have a Marvel Unlimited subscription.)
At the next stop, a group of Metro Officers boarded the train and began asking to see everyone’s TAP cards. The passengers all pulled out their cards and waited for the officers to scan them. Sunglasses guy next to me didn’t react.
Eventually, the officer approached our row and asked, “TAP cards?” I handed her mine. She scanned it and asked the man next to me, “Sir? Can I see your TAP card?”
Still no movement.
"Sir?… Excuse, me… sir?"
He must be asleep. So, I nudged him a little with my elbow.
He woke up. Handed the woman his TAP card and she scanned it. As she walked away, she looked at me and said, “Thank you, sir.”
"Sure," I replied.
As the man was putting his wallet back in his back pocket, he leaned over and shoulder checked me.
I was startled, and honestly… at this point I didn’t even take it as an act of hostility, I just thought, “Wow. Clumsy. Must be really tired.”
Then he jabbed me in the side with is elbow and growled, “Don’t ever fucking touch me again!”
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"Don’t touch me!" He said, staring at me angrily.
Ooookkaaayyy. Let me be honest here. I was mad. My blood started to boil.
I didn’t want him to see that he had intimidated me so I leaned in and said matter of factly, “I was just trying to wake up you for the Officer.”
"DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME AGAIN!" He said, with his teeth gritted.
I put my ipad away. I zipped up my bag. I straightened myself up and prepared for trouble.
I am going to get in a fight today.
I’m a black belt in Shaolin Kempo style Karate. Through my teachers I was taught a variety of martial arts styles. I studied for years and also helped as an instructor. I am no stranger to combat.
My mind instantly began to pinpoint his open vulnerable areas.
How was he sitting, and how did it make him open?
He has a bag beneath him. Could there be a weapon?
How much reaction time will I have once he reaches for it?
How can I prevent it? If not, how will he have to move to use it and how can I evade it?
I scanned our surroundings for open space.
Walls. Poles. Seats. Doors. Other people.
Where would we fight? How can I use it to my advantage:
To evade. To maneuver. To hurt.
I began to run various scenarios in my head. He doesn’t know anything about me. I don’t know anything about him. In some scenarios he ends up hurt. Maimed. Dead. In some scenarios I end up hurt. Maimed. Dead.
I was almost shaking with rage. I was ready to explode. I was ready for him to do something and I was ready to react.
And then I paused, and asked myself, “Why?”
Why, because I can’t let him “win”? To teach him a lesson?
What does he “win”? What do I “lose”?
Does the winner get points? Money? A trophy?
What do I teach him?
Not to “fuck” with me? Because, yeah… that’s important right? Isn’t it? I mean, I’m a MAN. That’s what men do. That’s what we’re supposed to care about, right? That’s an important “lesson”… I… guess?
In all the scenarios I imagined, I wondered how any of it made the world a better place. How does me hurting, maiming or… if it came down to it… killing him, make anything better? In the world? Ever?
I began to calm down. None of those possibilities makes anything better. None of it makes today a better day. Not this day. Not tomorrow. Not the next day.
I wasn’t afraid of him, but I had nothing to gain by trying to PROVE that to him. It didn’t mean I had to let him poison me. I didn’t have to let his problems become my problems. I didn’t have to let this man… this random stranger… blacken my heart.
And why? Because, what… I “touched” him? OoooooOOOooh, good Lord sound the alarms!!
Who. Gives. A. Fuck?
Eventually the train arrived at my stop.
I turned. Looked him in the eye, and calmly said:
"I hope your day gets better."
Because in all the scenarios I envisioned,
at least that was the one that didn’t leave the world worse off.
Then I walked to work. And the world didn’t end.
If more people stopped and thought about things this way, the world would be an infinitely better place. That is all.