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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Fear Factor

Fun Monday Sign Ups are Here, or just scroll down....Cassie is hosting!!!




Every Wednesday evening Cassie has a tutoring session for an hour in Berkeley. I always bring our dog and go for a walk while she is learning Algebra. The tutoring center is near the University and I love walking in the area. There are some beautiful homes and gardens and sometimes I walk through the campus and people watch. If you have ever been to Berkeley, you know that it is a very interesting city that has a large homeless population.



Normally, I am not scared of a homeless person, but I am very aware of my surroundings at all times.



Tonight was a normal Wednesday night. Michael came with us and we dropped Cassie off and went on our walk. When Michael joins us we always cut our walk short by about 15 minutes so he can have some play time at the park nearby. We had a very nice walk and Michael was very excited to have his park time. He ran to the park and immediately began swinging on the swings. Next to the park are basketball courts and there is always a group of men/boys playing, usually more than one game is going on and tonight was no different.



We had just arrived at the park and I was just about to sit down when I noticed a man walking across the street. He was obviously a homeless man and he was looking at me and began to walk towards me very purposefully. I did not sit down, but remained standing and had my dog standing in front of me. As he came closer I realized that he was a very large man, over 6 ft. tall. He walked right up to me and we had the following conversation:



Homeless Man (HM): What are you afraid of?

Me: Excuse me?

HM: (getting agitated) What are you afraid of?

Me: Nothing. I am not afraid of anything.

HM: You are afraid of the dogs fighting. They were fighting yesterday weren't they?

Me: Yes they were.

HM: They didn't mean to, it was not on purpose.

Me: No, it was an accident.

HM: I thought so.



He then walked away to bother the basketball players. To set the record straight...I was very scared....bravado was what kept my knees from buckling. He had the most gorgeous eyes, in color, but his eyes were full of anger, confusion, and madness. He was definitely "not all there". He was definitely capable of violence, and I was definitely scared.



I called Michael to me and we left very quickly. I did not want to wait around to see what would transpire between Homeless Man and the basketball players.
Looks can be deceiving. Although I appeared nonchalant and maintained constant eye contact with Homeless Man, I was petrified and had massive amounts of adrenaline coursing through my body. I was not aware of what my dog was doing, or Michael, or anyone. I was completely concentrated on Homeless Man, waiting for him to attack. As I look back on this incident I can't believe my behavior. I am afraid of my own shadow. I don't like to walk at night, I don't like to be alone, I am a chicken. You never know how you are going to react until you are thrust into a situation. You may just surprise yourself.



This reminded me of the time my wallet was stolen....I will save that for another post.

11 comments:

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Scary! I don't know if I would've handled that so well.

Tera said...

Isn't it great when you find yourself in such a situation and realize just how strong you really are? I mean, not that I'd wanna be in such a situation every day, it is scary, but still, you just figured out: I don't need to be a chicken/scaredy cat anymore! Good for you...but please be careful, Alison

karisma said...

You did well sweetie! You helped him far more than you know scared or not! We all have these scary moments and sometimes they are hard to cope with. Im glad that you made it through safely. Sometimes scary people are just looking for a little human compassion too! They don't get it very often.

Big hugs and faerie smoochies xxxx

Slick said...

Being afraid of a man that size is natural.

You never know with human behavior especially when one party is "not all there".

You're brave Alison, I can definitely say that.

ChrisB said...

I think you were very brave I felt scared just reading about the incident. Glad you got through it OK.

NariceatL4 said...

Wow, that was a scary story. Reasoning with somebody is one thing. Dealing with a person who has no reason (something missing) is another!

Heather said...

That is frightening. I'm glad it all came out ok.

Anonymous said...

how come you never told me this??
Cassie

Jennifer said...

Studs Terkel shared a similar anecdote about his wife driving through a rough neighborhood and being very afraid, especially when the mostly black inhabitants started waving at her and trying to stop her. Turns out she was driving the wrong way on a one way street and they were trying to let her know.
But it's impossible not to make snap judgements based on what we think we know. Especially as women. I probably would have wet myself and dribbled on his shoe.

storyteller said...

Alarming situation … I’m glad things worked out and your story serves as a reminder to us all to trust out instincts and act on them.
Hugs and blessings,

Irene Latham said...

There is a really excellent book called THE GIFT OF FEAR. Written for women, to remind us to listen to that voice, to the hair standing up on the back of our necks... how we so often put ourselves in dangerous situations so as not to make a scene or offend anyone. Unfortunately this is a lesson very often learned the hard way. Glad you are okay.