There’s more to yesterday’s post. Soon after standing there and weeping, I felt tired, achy, and cranky. As I continued along Douglas towards Front Street, with a cane signalling “please don’t bump into me,” a young man came towards me, riding a bike on the sidewalk, weaving in and out. Brushing against me, he causes my body to do a painful half-turn.
Next thing he was beside me, accusing me of “assaulting” him in language consisting mostly of fucking this and fucking that. I shouted back, saying that it was him who’d run into me and that sidewalk cycling was unlawful. In quick succession, he spat at my face, I wacked him with a cane, he took off. Mind you, that cane was made of aluminum, hollow and light, something you buy in a drugstore. Still, I’d knowingly hit another human being.
What was that about? In that instance, had he offered resistance or attacked me further, I know I could have hurt him, hit him, punched him, whatever. For a split second, blinding rage from a place of helplessness, fear, and entitlement. A raw reptilian response.
Fortunately his wisdom prevailed: flicking a burning cigarette at me, he rode off. And I stood there, amid a stream of pedestrians, shaking in disbelief. Regained awareness, I felt my heart open and wondered what he’d take away from our encounter. One more asshole adult? One more reason to act like a punk? One more proof that the world is an unsafe place?
As for me, several questions. What happened to compassion? Where is the boundary between loving and hating, between vulnerability and cruelty? Was this a test and how did I fail? What’s the lesson of the day?