Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The moral of the story. 01.04.15

So there I am, driving back from work this lunchtime. I'm just getting into town and the traffic is moving slowly.

This guy who's just gotten out of his vehicle starts waving at me to wind my window down. I don't have electric windows and I don't know who the hell he is, so I wave "no can do" back and keep moving.

So he starts pointing towards the side of the road telling me to pull up. That ain't happening, thank you. I keep going.

Next thing I know, he's jogged up alongside my van and opened the passenger door*, without asking. Apparently he read the signposting on my van and wanted to tell me about these things he sells that I might be interested in.

Aside from the fact that if you piss me off that much, I ain't going to buy a damn thing from you, this could have gone south so badly and in so many ways I'm struggling to compute the level of stupidity behind it. The whole thing took place in daylight, on a reasonably busy street of a reasonably quiet town. I'm not a likely kidnapping victim, and my vehicle is such a heap of crap that nobody in their right mind would want to hijack it. There are no mental hospitals, drug clinics, prisons, courts, or police stations nearby. I also have no aversion whatsoever at defending myself if required, and have got enough training and experience under my belt not to panic easily (I'm far from being a ninja, but I can be an inconvenience). Because of all those reasons, I was infinitely more ticked off than threatened. Had all those circumstances not applied, I would have probably felt threatened enough to justify lumping him in the face. Had there been anything in the van that needed protecting (children, dogs, valuables, you name it), I would not even have considered any of the above points before lumping him.

It also turns out that my aversion to paperwork is greater than my need to teach people the error of their ways. Had that not been the case, I might also have reacted in a less measured fashion out of sheer annoyance. I know plenty of people who would have seen that kind of affront as a valid justification for taking physical measures; I'm just glad none of them was in the car with me. The flipside is that because I was alone and the guy was considerably bigger than me, if I had reacted physically I would have stood a good chance at getting away with it as self-defence. I am a fragile little petal and he chased me down the road and tried to get in my car, Officer Friendly. I'm still all shook up!

We're also a country where people are prevented from carrying weapons. We are not supposed to either want or need to hurt people in self-defence. In countries where you're allowed to go armed, he might have been shot - or he might have been thinking a bit more carefully about what he was doing. And still, regardless of the fact that I can't carry weapons, in my van I have a window breaker, a small fire extinguisher, a scattering of work tools (some blunt, some pointy), and, if all else fails, a pen always on the dashboard. All of these items could cause somebody a serious amount of inconvenience if I bashed him on the head with them, or poked them in his eye. As of today, I'm also going to start carrying some wasp spray, because that'd save me risking breaking a nail to educate a moron (and pepper spray is also illegal in this fair isle).

So the moral of the story today is: Do not stick yourself into a meat grinder. Do not be so involved in your own little world that you fail to see when your behaviour is potentially threatening, deeply inconsiderate, or just plain abnormal. Do not give people a reason to hurt you. Do not have your safety depend on other people's tolerance and self-control. It's neither big nor clever.

*The passenger door was not locked because the central locking is not fully functional. Yes, the van is a heap.

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