Big talk, for a guy who’s never been in a fight.

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Arwen’s been pointing something out to me over the last few months (maybe longer, and it’s only sinking in now) and it’s about violence.  In specific, it’s about me having violence as the go-to when it comes to why certain things just shouldn’t be done.

I was talking about something I saw on the Skytrain last night: The train was crammed on a rainy Vancouver evening, and at one of the stations, a few people tried to squeeze in, and managed to just make it in, and then there was this one last guy who came running across the platform like a linebacker, and crashed into the half-dozen folks in the doorway.  There were shouts of “Hey” and “What the hell?” and a moment later, a transit greenjacket pulled the guy off the train, and the doors closed.  The train pulled away without further incident.

So I told this story to Arwen, and was saying that it was probably a good thing they pulled the guy off the train, ’cause I thought things might’ve actually gotten violent on that train if he’d stayed.  Arwen suggested in no uncertain terms that this was the least likely thing to happen on a transit car full of commuters on a rainy Wednesday evening in Vancouver.  Dirty looks.  Rolled eyes, maybe, but then everyone would go back to their iPhones, Blackberries, and newspapers, and generally forget about Mr. Shove.

This is something Arwen has pointed out to me before: To hear me tell it, it would seem that in my day-to-day life, I’m generally a pretty easy-going and “no-no, after you” kinda guy ONLY because my primary reason for not being a pushy line-cutting* butthead (at least when storytelling) is to avoid getting my teeth punched out.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around out there thinking I’m going to need to duck a punch if I step on someone’s shoes, nor do I think I’m going to partake in fisticuffs if someone steps on my toes.

Let’s face it, there’s a fair amount of truth in the joke “How do you make a Canadian say sorry?  Bump into them.” so I wonder why my first thought is often that you need to avoid the violence inherent in the system.

Two of my male friends have also said things to me over the years that make me wonder.  One of them was more about the strength of my hands, as in “Holy geez, look at those meat hammers – I’d hate to be on the wrong end of that.” and the other friend (who has waaay too much Aikido training) was just referring to my internal violent imagery, as in “You’re a nice guy and everything, but I can see you’ve got that crazy demon in there, and you need to get back into training to get that thing under control.”

So now I wonder if it’s been in that head-patting “Yeah, yeah, you’re rill rill scary.” sort of way.  I wonder what I think the point of those stories spun that particular way is supposed to be?  That I’m the Defender of Justice, so I wish people wouldn’t be assholes so I wouldn’t have to hold back the mob of angry villagers with the pitchforks and torches?

Huh.  Interesting.

Maybe it’s time for me to get into karate again.

Either that, or stop talking about people being pushy buttheads out in the world.  Just let it go, y’know?  There’s the studies that say that people build up stress and then have explosive rants because it releases all sorts of cool something-amine into your brain, which feels good.  So feeling stress is bad, but having stress but then freaking OUT is good.  At least, it feels good to do, but then leaves everyone around you with the impression that you’re this dramafest, when actually, you’ve let it go in the moment (at least in the instance of who/whatever was making you crazy).

…and now, I sleep.  Don’t wanna be a grump tomorrow, or I’ll uh… I’ll what?

Yeah, I’ll probably… nothing.  WooOOoo, scary stuff, eh kids?

*Queuing is Canada’s secret National pastime.

Posted on November 27th 2009 in Grumpy Old Man, People
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