Tuesday, 11 October 2011

In the warpath

I've a had a few encounters recently that have left me wondering what's happening in the world.  I've also felt a little unsafe afterwards.  Then I felt angry and resentful as I thought about what was going on.

Yesterday I was catching a tram to an appointment across town.  As we approached my stop, I made my way to the door and waited until we stopped.  When we did stop there were about ten people waiting to get on.  They surged forward, led by a tall male youth who came up the stairs.  I was half way down the stairs and there was no where for either of us to go.  I asked him to wait and allow me and other passengers to disembark.  His response was to puff his chest out and eye ball me. I'm the Queen of the power glare and that's what my instinct led me to do before I realised that this might not be a safe or wise thing to do.  He looked aggressive.  My only choice was to go back up the stairs to allow him on first and then try again to get off the tram.  

What's that about?  A sense of entitlement? Unthinking actions and then the need to aggressively prove himself to be in the right?  Deep insecurity which he hides by showing an aggressive and uncaring face to the world?  

Then here at home last week on a day when the sun was out a soccer match was started on the driveway of our apartment block just as I drove in to park.  There's a really lovely park about three minutes away so I do not understand why people need to kick balls near the cars that are parked.  My car bears the scars of a previous group of kids who would consistently kick their ball at the parked cars.  This day the game was being played by about 6 young men, some I know to say hello to and some that I've never seen before.  I parked my car and locked it and greeted them all (they had had to stop playing while I parked my car).  I then asked them not to play near my car.  One of the men I didn't know made a smart comment that was backed with a contemptuous attitude.  One of the blokes that I do know stepped in and acknowledged what I was saying, but they made no move to play somewhere else.  I asked again but felt the air change - there was a charge of aggression.  I suggested that they play near their own cars so they would only damage their own property.  Then I said I was only asking to be shown some respect by my neighbours.  Then I left and watched from my window as they continued to kick the ball at my car and occasionally land on my car themselves.

I don't like feeling helpless and I don't often feel intimidated, but I am at a loss to know how to handle these kinds of situations.  It feels so volatile and I end up wrestling between my sense of safety and my sense of justice.  

The bizarre thing is that the stakes are low in both these situations.  It would be very easy for the men in these scenarios to make different choices without much detriment to themselves - if any.  

What to do?

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