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March 2, 2011



Before I get into the details, let me state up front that I was not harmed physically.  Emotionally, I’d say that I suffered a little PTS (post traumatic stress).  The moral of this ‘cautionery tale’ is to take my advice and “Do as I say and not as I do.”
I’d been feeling at ‘sixes and nines’ (an expression used by a former friend that aptly describes how I was feeling) but I kept pushing myself to go out and do what I needed to do.  I didn’t listen to my ‘gut’ and should know better from experience.  Plus, given what followed I probably should have stayed in bed that day.  I was not emotionally prepared to cope with a  confrontation of any kind and things quickly escalated, in part because of how I chose to respond.   

Some pathetic excuse for a human being suddenly stopped his car in front of mine, halfway down the row in the parking lot of a Loblaws Superstore.  He just stopped.  He wasn't indicating his intention by signaling that he was waiting for something nor was he waving for me to go around him, which by the way seemed impossible as he'd stopped in the centre of the lane.  So out of reasonable courtesy I sat waiting for about  - oh, who knows for how long.  It seemed much too long whatever it was.  I admittedly am not a patient person to begin with and have been described as one who stands in front of the microwave saying, “C’mon!” So, basically I was acting true to form.  
Sighing deeply with exasperation after what felt like minutes, I beeped my horn gently.   He still wasn’t signalling his intent, so I took a breath and waited another 30 seconds or so and honked again.  I drive a Honda Civic, so at best my horn would just be annoyingly obnoxious.  

In my rearview mirror I noticed cars were now lining up behind us and I’m wondering, what on earth was this inconsiderate idiot waiting for?  There were several vacant spaces on his right, so why wasn’t he parking there?  More time passed so I hit the horn again, lingering a bit this time.  Nothing.  No response or acknowledgement that he might be inconveniencing anyone.

Now, it was getting seriously ridiculous so after mentally gauging if I could get around him  (no longer able to back up now) I gave one more long honk and waited to see if he would at least look in his mirror and shrug but he chose to ignore me.  Enough was enough, so I started to pull out on his left side intending to squeeze by the offending car.  As I came up alongside him he moved forward and then suddenly pulled into a parking space on his right.  Why the hell couldn’t he have just done that to begin with?  

I pulled into a spot a few cars away from him and as I opened the car door, I heard someone bellowing in their ‘outdoor’ voice.  I looked up to see this lunatic approaching my car, waving his arms and screaming, “Why did you honk your horn at me? Don’t you EVER honk your horn at me, you pig.  You impatient cow. You bastard!!”  

“What?”  I replied as I stepped from my car and watched the approaching whirling dirvish.  I was speaking in a reasonable tone, intending to explain why I had honked at him, initially intending to use my old, customer service skills to try and defuse the situation.  “You were blocking the driveway and holding up cars behind me.  I was trying to get you to move.  And, don’t call me names.  Yes, I  am impatient. I admit that, but you were being inconsiderate and indifferent to the rest of us and I am NOT a cow!  You are being very rude”

"I’m not rude. You are!  Don’t you EVER honk at me, you miserable cow.”  He bellowed again.  “You’re just an ugly cow!” (This is where you have the option of glancing at my photo on the right side of this page and judge for yourself).  “Who do you think you are you bastard cow, you ugly bastard cow?  I was waiting to park. What’s wrong with you, you ugly cow. You bastard!!”  Bastard?  Me?  He just continued to rage and call me vile names.  
I was completely stunned for a second or two and then felt my ire rising.  T'was the end of a perfect day tacked onto several just like it, that included a broken tooth and burning my face with a facial hair remover I tried out.  But, I knew I was not going to back down.  I should have, but in that moment, I knew I wouldn't.  The man seemed to be nearing his breaking point and I was obviously pushing his buttons.  He was stuck in his anger and I was mad as hell that I was being unjustly & viciously berated by a complete stranger. Me, who goes out of her way to be nice to people. I want people to like me, so this is not something that I would invite consciously.  Was there a lesson to be learned from this, I asked myself much later?    
As he continued to scream, I glanced towards his car and could make out the top of a head in the passenger seat, sitting perfectly still and looking straight ahead.  I assumed it might be the wife and in view of the circumstances, had I been her, there’s no way I’d be sitting quietly in my car, while my husband raged at a lone woman, in public. Seething at the thought that she was so cowered by this lunatic, she could do nothing at all, I unwisely spat out, “I’m sure sorry for your family, having to put up with your vulgar mouth.”  
Well, now his eyes grew into round saucers and were bulging out of their sockets.  He began moving towards me, finger pointing in a dangerous and threatening way, rigid with intention.  I held my ground and thought to myself, mister if you hit me you’d better make it a good one because if I get up, you’re done.  I braced myself, twisting the straps of my new, designer bag around my hand several times for leverage, ready to use it as a weapon if necessary.  He came so close to my face that I could feel the heat from his girthy, pointing finger, which he kept jabbing into the air in front of me. I knew he wanted to hit me. He was practically foaming at the mouth. 

For some unfathomable reason, I decided that no matter what, I would not back down.  I wasn’t scared I was simply determined to stand up to this brutish and cowardly excuse for a man.  Something from my childhood, no doubt.  It also had something to do with the timing - wrong time, place and moment. I didn’t say it was a good decision and hindsight would serve to support that.  
I warned him that I was going to call the police and report his abusive and threatening manner.  He responded by saying that HE was calling the police on ME.  Really?  Really?  I had kept the scenario going, fuelilng it with my own anger and I knew better from personal experience, again referencing my childhood.  But, I stood my ground, glaring back at him as he continued to hurl his nastiness in my direction.  Finally, he blinked and turned away from me, retreating in the direction of his car while continuing to scream expletives over his shoulder.  I decided to have the last word and held my middle finger skyward.  Yup, dumb move.  This would be the slippery slope and cautionery tale part of this writing.  


As I walked towards the store, I heard a second man yelling and saw him approaching my abuser from one row over.  “Hey, mister, he bellowed, "you had your say, now back off.”
“What business is it of yours?” came the retort.  
“Well, for one thing, in Canada, we come to the defense of people,” responded my hero.  I couldn’t hear all of the dialogue, but as it continued I was greatly releived that this complete stranger had so bravely come to my rescue, intervening on my behalf when God only knows which way the situation could have gone.  I thought him very brave.    
I said a silent ‘thank you’ to this stranger, my hero and quickly headed into the store, happy to be inside and away from it all.  I was concerned for him, so I watched through the window until I could see that the situation was calming down, though there was still a bit of arm waving happening.  Satisfying myself that my rescuer was no longer in danger, I pushed my cart into the store.  Unexpectedly, I felt my body begin to tremble and tears welled up. I was in distress and didn’t know what I was going to do if he decided to come looking for me.  Was I was suffering from ‘post traumatic stress?’  What on earth had made me stand there arguing with a mad man, instead of just walking away or ignoring him altogether.  I considered that my reaction probably fell into the category of a ‘flight or fight’ scenario and took some satisfaction in now knowing where I stood on that issue.  But, I wasn’t feeling quite so brave now.   
As I walked the aisles, unaware of lifting items from the shelf and into my cart, I wondered if he might be waiting for me at my car?  My thoughts turned to the person I saw sitting in his car and prayed that she would not have to take the brunt of his inexcusable rage. I remained rather numb as I checked out and pushed my cart towards the exit, contemplating asking someone to walk me to my car.  As I was considering this idea, I noticed a man standing directly in my path, looking very intent.  He stepped towards me and asked smiling, “Are you the woman from the parking lot..” 
“Yes, I am. Are you the one who confronted the guy who was screaming at me?”
“Yeah, I’m the one.  I thought I’d better step in because, I don’t know if you reallized it, but he had started to run after you. Did you know that?”
“What?  No, I didn’t. Really?”
“All of a sudden, he turned and ran after you.  I thought I’d better do something, so I yelled at him to back off.”
“Wow.  Unbelievable.  Thank you for that.”   
We stood and discussed the situation for a few minutes and then I thanked him profusely for intervening on my behalf.  I told him that I was truly surprised that anyone would be courageous enough to do that for a stranger.  He said he also took a picture of the guys license plate, just in case he decided to take out his wrath on my car or resumed his abuse in the store and then disappeared.  He'd lost sight of the guy and thought the best plan would be to plant himself at the door and wait for me to emerge.  I said a final 'thank you' to him and headed directly to the car while he watched.  There was no sign of my abuser by this time and I made it home safe and sound, unscathed but shaken.  

I decided that this experience should be more than just a story to tell at smart dinner parties. My intention is to have it serve as a 'what NOT to do' option in this type of situation.  I was lucky to have escaped without physical harm. The emotional toll however, has been noted accordingly.  
My hero’s name is Brian and the best way to thank him for what he did, is to tell you about his website and leave the rest to you.  Brian has joined up with Google Ads to help raise money for his foundation which supports Juvenile Diabetes Research and the Epileptic Foundation.  
Each time you do a ‘search’ from this site: Google donates a portion of their advertising dollars to Brian’s charities. I use Google to do my research anyway, so why not add something of value to my effort and his.
“If you use this search page for all your internet searches, GOOGLE will share some of their Ad $$Dollars$$ so we can give to the Juvenile DiabeticResearch Foundation and the Epileptic Foundation!”


Laura Jennekens and Vicky Gerke said...

Wow Linda. What a story. Written so well. Great call to action for the hero's charity. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Fight or flight followed by adrenaline rush and letdown..we've all been there Linda.Sad to say bullies come in all sizes and ages!