I Was Nearly Attacked Last Week - What I did Right & What I Did Wrong
No good deed goes unpunished...should be the title of this post. However, I'm beyond that. Possibly still in the lil' angry phase. If there are phases to be had.
Here's what happened...
I was reluctant to write this. Back when I was 50 years old...(last week.) I had an incident. I think you have to understand my daily life first or about me. I'm complicated...I'm an author. I write the apocalypse. I actually wrote The China Pandemic in 2013...no, I'm not a prophet...it's just a coincidence and THIS had nothing to do with THAT.
So I live on a sleepy, lovely island. Bainbridge Island, Washington, is probably one of the most safest places to live actually. It's a retirement island as well as a commuter, give me a coffee on my way to Seattle, island. But that also has nothing to do with the incident. That's just setting for what's to come.
Beyond the island, I live in a wonderful, secure building. I chose this building for its specific specifications while I decide on a house to buy locally. During this interim, I've met many wonderful new friends.
One of those couples had moved away recently...just a few blocks.
Meanwhile...I've been writing a story. I can't say that only writers know what this is like. Its got something to do with what I'll term, Writer's Brain.
Basically meaning, even when we're present in public with friends and family...there's a whole freakin story going on in the back of our minds. I mean...Planet of the Apes, All the Light We Cannot See, The Latest Science Journal, what happened with that lady with the red lipstick on the ferry?, the pinkest poppies I've ever seen on my morning walk, that argument on the plane two years ago with that guy in the rugby green shirt with his wife, my deceased mother's talcum powder with that faded image of a lady with flowers in her hair, that lopsided grin my son made when he asked about the ridiculous existence of the Easter Bunny, The day my father asked me if I was okay...when I was three years old in a Caracas jungle, that taste of dates, the silence of a heron perched on a lone stump on a sunny day with waves lapping...and on and on it goes. Only with story images.
Basically, so when I'm with my friends...they've learned to keep talking amongst themselves for a bit until I fully engage after a typical workday. Thankfully, they're patient. I do finally come 'round...although the story on the reel in my mind never really ends. The end of the world never ceases.
So...these wonderful friends of mine asked me to come over and had also asked another resident of my building, who is (supposedly) SLIGHTLY sight impaired, to see the way to their new place. They asked me to show this older person the way since he wasn't going to be with his service animal.
I'd met this person a time or two in passing. I've trusted my instincts in the past. There was something about him that I didn't particularly like. But that feeling wasn't pronounced. Like an itch, a swat of a fly. When my friend asked me to guide him over, she'd mentioned..."I know you don't particularly care for him, but could you help him over?"
I've been in my writing world right? I said, "Sure." Defenses down....(the way those dry blades blew three falls ago on the Palouse...that bruise on my dad's eye, the smell of the ocean on the way to John's place.)
I met this person in the courtyard of the building. Normal small talk these days include..."How seriously are you taking all of this?" Mask wearing, gel carrying, stats producing, small talk.
We get to our mutual friend's place and have a lovely evening. Talk of what's old and new, the next thing to get us all.
We sat around a pool enjoying the sunny day and warm weather of June in the temperamental Northwest. (I say that, because a few weeks later is freaking cold). We'd had a couple of glasses of wine, fruit, chips, and snacks. It was a lovely warm evening all around. A great end of a busy day.
My friends try to pull me out of my lair every now and then and it was a relaxing and an enjoyable time. At some point this person asked us if we knew of any cameras along the roads back to the building. Odd question, I thought. But I said, I knew of the ones in my building and I was certain there were some near the ferry and police station, but didn't know of any locations of those in the local vicinity. (messed up there).
And then...it was time to return home.
I repeated the trip walking the two blocks in the dark evening. Where this person tried the unthinkable.
On the dark road heading back on the path to the building, he abruptly, without any indication whatsoever, turned on me and grabbed me by my shirt and jerked me hard toward him.
It's bizarre....how time slows when these things happen.
My right arm found itself in front of me, in front of him. I shoved the holy hell out of him, backward while screaming, "NO!"
"What the fuck are you doing?"
He had much more to drink than anyone and began screaming, "YOU women!...are all fucking bitches......" The rampage continued...the vile garbage about women and how horrible WE are...continued.
I said, "You're lucky I don't kick your ASS!" (that's kinda funny now...not quite there yet, but kinda.)
The next morning...
What I did wrong...I'd had a glass of wine.
What I did right...I defended myself. I was prepared to fight.
What I did wrong...Walked in the dark.
What I did right...got myself safe as fast as possible.
What I did wrong...I wasn't fully aware...that writer's brain...
What I did wrong...I didn't listen to my instincts...
What I did wrong...I was too complacent. Complacency will get you every time.
I'm completely fine. The situation is taken care of. This could have been so much worse. It is not my fault. This is what we (women) do. But...I was too complacent, and that is the problem with so many assaults.
This was a warning. Please be aware of your surroundings. Please do not take chances.
Don't be afraid of life but be aware of what could go wrong and prepare for these things.
This was a warning...even on a lovely, sleepy island in the Pacific Northwest, bad things can and do happen.