I am a peaceful person. I don't really know how to fight and have never been in a "real" fist fight with a stranger. Before you get the wrong idea, I didn't get in a fight today either, but the potential was there. For the purposes of the following narrative, **** = the F word. Here's what happened.
London Ontario experienced a blizzard last night and through the early morning, with high winds and some decent snow accumulation, but nothing crazy like back in December. I knew it was going to be a tough slog in to work, so I left extra extra early hoping to see less car traffic. That worked OK, but thanks to backstreets being quite plugged I walked my bike quite a lot.
It was while I was doing this that I passed a man running a snowblower and clearing his driveway while his wife shovelled the steps. I was quite near them and obviously within earshot when he yelled to his wife, "Has this guy got ****ing rocks for brains?" I didn't like that. Had I been riding, I probably would have just kept going and shrugged it off. I was on foot, however, and that made it feel more personal somehow. I stopped walking, turned and looked straight at him for a few seconds and then resumed walking away.
At that point "****ing Idiot!" issued forth from behind me. I couldn't take it. I lay my bike down in the snow and walked back to snowblower man. I pulled my goggles under my chin so he could see my face and asked, "What the **** does it matter to you if I ride my bike today?" To which he replied "Hey man, in snow like this... it's dangerous... there are cars out there. I'm not worried about them, I'm worried about you..." Well, that made sense. I know that when I am concerned about a person, I always let them know by calling them a ****ing idiot.
As I play it back in my mind, of course there are all kinds of reasonable and informative things I wish I had said. As it was, however, I replied "How about I just take care of myself, OK?", to which he replied "Alright, whatever" or something like that. I returned to my bike and as I picked it up he yelled "It just seems crazy..." and then some unintelligible stuff to his wife.
The smart me knows that the guy could have been a total nutcase who was looking for a fight, but I just could not let his comments pass. It worked out OK, I guess, but I am curious what you might have done. I mean, would you just keep walking? Would you do what I did? Would you throw a snowball at him and run? Would you punch him for being so in your face?
I'm still pretty mad. I know some people think I'm an idiot or worse. That is truly OK, because I know that what I do looks pretty crazy. My question is, why do some people feel the need to yell it at me? Why can't they just shake their head and make fun of me over dinner or at the water cooler? I know I need to learn to just let go of these bad vibes. I am finding it difficult.
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