Concocting your own version of reality in order to justify your behavior
is the epitome of maliciousness. Kicking someone while they’re down and
calling them a vagrant and so forth and making accusations based on
circumstantial issues and whining about how it was a bad experience for
you when you were dishing it out is awfully bitchy. I hope you’re on the
receiving end of such treatment at some point so you know how it feels.
It was hilarious when you tried to quiz me on my major when I doubt you
know a thing about it. How is someone who is a vagrant emailing you from
a berkeley address? Seriously. Might want to think things through. My
airbnb account is linked to my facebook, so I was never hiding a damn
thing. “you’re operating without a cellphone.” Most people who are up to
things have one. It’s not particularly hard to get one. I don’t really
like replacing things when they’re likely to be found and the bus driver
on the bus I lost it on told my mom he was going to turn it in when she
called the number.
You never once asked to see my identification and tried your best to jump
to conclusions simply based on my appearance.
In conclusion, fuck you.
Remember that guy from the last blog entry? How did you respond?
“I understand your feelings, Patrick. You don’t realize this: that I did not turn you away because I thought you were a liar.”
That was it. Forget engaging.
You never intended to write the Patrick story. You really only wanted to rant on about wearing green. About that goofy kid Keeta. But it seemed as though you never did get closure on the Patrick situation. Not until you finished reading The Gift Of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.
About a month ago, you sat one of your co-trainers down between appointments and grilled him about self defense. You, being a ball- busting lesbian, have always been interested in being able to beat up men. And you have, in the past. Mostly schoolyard crap. And some drunken bonfire brawls with your buddies Big Dan and Beefer. Most intense situations don’t require violence.
In more threatening circumstances that should have involved some more violence, there was the Turkish guy who felt you up.
The penis-wielding wanker in Italy, who chased you up a mountain to grope your ass.
There was The Toucher on the ferry boat.
…and then the Nipple Pincher, shortly thereafter.
“Listen, Gus,” you said that afternoon at work. “Every time I meet someone who has martial arts or military training, or fighting experience, I ask them to teach me one thing–anything. Any take down, or dirty fighting tactic they have. I’m not looking for disciplines, per se. I’m looking to establish dominance over anyone who tries to mess with me. Nothing aimed toward killing a person. Just ways to get them off my back immediately, and with no room for them to doubt that I will make them regret their actions.”
Gus is a very pleasant fellow whom you know to have seen some serious shit. It is for that very reason that he maintains his pleasant demeanor–because, as he stated, “After what I saw my buddies go through, I would not be honoring them by not enjoying my life to its fullest. I have no reason to complain.”
Gus spoke to you at length about aggression. He explained that he’s seen plenty of disciplined black belts get into real fights and lose all of their training in a split second. “It ends up just looking like a bar fight. It’s sloppy. Ultimately, the guy who wins is whoever came through with overwhelming force.
Overwhelming force. Try to win a fight with a bull. There are very few experts out there. The rest just get gored… (Ahhh… that’s why when a 300-lb Beefer came at you, you didn’t stand a chance. Why your trachea hurt so much the next day.)
Anyway…. Gus came through a couple weeks later and handed you the book, saying, ‘This book will teach you more than I ever could.”
He was right. You can Katie ended up reading the whole thing out loud to one another, principally on your trip in Yosemite, cowering in your sleeping bags, terrified of being mauled by bears, and flipping through pages detailing violent crime. “Amped” was the word.
The book talks about fear, obviously. Fear–and how it can save your ass. How you should always listen to your intuition. If you get sketched out by some dude, there’s a deep-seeded reason for it, as we are all experts in predicting human behavior. After all, you predict it on a daily basis–non-violent human behavior, but behavior nonetheless.
The culture of the West, rooted firmly in a philosophy of the rational–of logical categorization–ignores the more intuitive side of human perception. Intuition can’t be measured. It can’t be rationalized. It’s just a feeling that, in hindsight, can be explained rationally. But in the moment, you don’t have time to weigh every possibility.
So when someone behaves outside of cultural norms, you can safely assume that what will follow will make you very uncomfortable.
Like that guy Damil, in Croatia, on his sail boat… *shudder* You’d started to think he was a prick when he got a little drunk… but your hackles raised when he came up behind you and placed both hands firmly around your neck. He’d used his grip to turn your head and direct the beam of your headlamp elsewhere below deck, to find something.
What the fuck. Who grabs someone’s neck like that from behind?
It seemed innocent enough. Almost playful. He had been drinking, after all. It was over quickly. No harm, no foul. But an alarm went off in your head, all the same.
And things turned worse from there. As he had attempted to cajole you and Manon to crash with him on his boat, you knew better than that. He was a big guy. You weren’t interested in pissing off a big drunk guy. So you slept on land, only to return to the boat the next day and give him another shot.
He failed. And unfortunately, you and Manon ended up stuck on his boat, in the sea–all.by.your.lonesome.
But hey! You’re still alive, right?
The point is that you knew from the moment he grabbed your neck that something was fucked up about him. And then you made the error (which for many women can be fatal): you gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Last May, that night in your apartment, you apologized to Patrick over and over again about having to kick him out. Something (many things) about Patrick were off. It is better to offend someone than get yourself robbed, raped, or killed. It wasn’t that you thought he was lying. It was everything else about him that made you (and Katie) so uneasy.
Listen to your gut.
Remember those three Romanian dudes?
You then learned they were not French, but Romanian. And, after sizing the men up, your stomach went into knots. For the first time you realized you had made a serious mistake getting into a car with that many men—that many HUGE men. They grow ‘em big in Romania, and you realized that for all your strength, height, confidence, and force, you and Alexis would certainly not be able to fend them off if they wanted to rob, rape, or kidnap you. Fuck.
The driver said you spoke French well, but then said he had an Enlish-speaking friend who was fishing in the next village. He called this friend, and in Romanian told him something. The only thing you understood is that he kept saying he had two American girls with him. The driver wanted you to speak to his friend, so you took the phone. “Hello?” Why were you supposed to talk to him? What was the point. You didn’t give a balls if the man spoke English when you and all the men in the car had French in common. “Why am I supposed to talk to you?” As you were trying to figure this out, the driver veered off your highway. Alexis demanded to know why, and all the men started saying, “No, no, it’s okay. It’s okay.” No, it wasn’t okay. And the man on the phone heard the tone of your voice and wanted to know where you were.
Alexis told them to stop. Stop the car, turn around. You shouted into the phone that the driver was not listening to you, that he was confusing you, and that you didn’t see any reason why he should have diverted from your road and made you talk on the phone. Alexis was ready to tuck and roll out of the car. After arguing for a few minutes, the two of you managed to convince the car to release you. But rather than letting you out then and there, the driver insisted on keeping you a little longer, turned the vehicle, returned you to the point where the road diverted. You got out, got your stuff, and the men started to apologize. They told you where you could find the train. You said you didn’t want the train. You just didn’t want to hitch hike with a car filled with foreigners who behave in confusing ways. It seemed as though the driver wanted his buddy on the phone to talk to you and keep you calm while they drove you off course.
Holy shit, what a scare you got!
Bottom line: listen to your intuition.
You and Alexis pressed on. Pressed on hard and fast until you reached the 7th mile. Within good shooting distance of the river at the bottom… but it was 11am at that point, and your guts started saying, “Turn around now, Maria, turn around now. You’re being stupid. There is NO vegetation anywhere. THIS is why people die back here.”
So you listened to your guts, told Alexis that perhaps you should turn around… but wound up going another 20 or so minutes before your guts screamed, “STOP IT NOW! GO BACK!”
Always listen to your gut. Always. And thank god you did!
Alexis ended up with hyponatremia.
Bottom line: listen to your intuition.