Doing battle with daily dragons

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sticks and Stones

Life is full of firsts, although they seem fewer and far between the older you get. We should always endeavour to keep those firsts coming; it keeps the spirit young. There are exceptions to the rule, however, and I was granted a first yesterday evening that I could have done without; being attacked by a stranger in a nightclub toilet.

First off, let me say that I was in no danger at any time. I wasn’t even frightened. I had a good 5 inches on my assailant and sobriety on my side. But she had all the venom of an angry drunk and no one to unleash it on until I walked into the room.

Again, this was a situation in which my “it’s easier to be kind than to be unkind” training let me down badly. It was VERY hard to be kind to this harpy as she was trying to bite, scratch and kick me and calling me an “ugly bitch”, “fucking cunt” and “American whorenaldf.x…la.” (Or something to that effect. Like I said, I was the only one with sobriety on my side. I’m surprised she even noticed that I was American.)

After locking myself in a cubical and trying to reason with this alternately weeping, angry and hysterical mad woman, I was saved by the arrival of the club’s female bouncer; 10 tons of solid muscle in a ponytail.

What surprised me most about the encounter was how shaken I was afterwards. The Rock Star (who was playing a gig at this venue) said it was bound to be shocking; it’s not every day that you encounter someone who wanted to hurt you for no reason. (Although The Rock Star spent most of his time in college being attacked in the street for no reason other than that he happened to be walking home from Tescos.) I don’t know what it is about me, though, that can’t believe in the nature of randomness. Even if my first reaction was, “I wish I’d cracked her head open on the hand dryer and made it look like an accident,” some small, traitorous part of me kept thinking, “If only I could have understood why she was so angry, maybe I could have made a difference, even for a minute, in this damaged person’s life.” This is woolly thinking, I know, but it makes for a feeling of lingering guilt that I can't seem to shake off.

I don’t know what it was about this particular encounter that’s stuck with me, I just wanted to share, I guess.