I illustrate this by asking my students if they have ever been around someone that just sent off the wrong vibes. There was something about that person, something that they couldn't put their finger on, which made them extremely uncomfortable. They knew that this person was bad news, they just couldn't say how they knew. I call this feeling The Monkey.
This morning on the way to work I felt The Monkey.
I dropped in to the convenience store I stop at every day to gas up and get some vitamin water. I stop at this place usually six times a week at 4.30am or so. I usually have no issues because there are always cops hanging out there sipping coffee and talking. But the cops haven't been around lately. None to be seen today. Whatever.
I got outside the truck and put the gas nozzle in and started pumping. I was cold so I went back inside my truck and closed the door.
I was listening to the radio when a short (very short) black guy with glasses came right up to the door and started talking to me through the window. Instantly I went into self defense mode. I locked the doors. I could hear him saying stuff, but I wasn't listening to a word. I was looking around my car to make sure he wasn't a distraction for something worse coming from behind. I grabbed the only weapons I had close by - my four D cell mag lite and my pocket knife. I also had keys but I was happier with my flashlight made of machined aircraft aluminum and the knife. I carry a big knife.
The guy kept talking through the closed window and eventually I told him to step away from the truck. Actually I yelled for him to "get the f1ck away from my truck". He did.
I looked around three more times, then stepped out to see him, knife in hand (blade not drawn) and flashlight held like a cop, sitting on my shoulder, ready for action. He was in a very subdued posture, but he kept closing the range on me. I kept stepping back. I glanced at his hands, they were in his pockets (not good), but his shoulders and arms were not tensed (good). No bulges in his jacket. His eyes were not glazed over (good, probably not intoxicated). He wasn't tensed in any area of his body that I could see. He wasn't agitated, but kept closing the damned range on me. Finally I took my flashlight, pushed him in the chest with it and told him to STOP coming close to me, and to shut up for a second. I might have told him to shut the f1ck up, but I don't remember, my adrenalin was pumping pretty good. He finally stopped flapping his yapper and I asked him what he wanted. He needed directions to a town 30 miles from here. I told him where to go, never taking my eyes off of him, and he thanked me and left. All in the above paragraph happened in about thirty seconds.
When he left I finished gassing up and went inside to get my water - the cashier, who I have known for a long time, asked what the hell was going on out there - I said that I thought the guy might have been retarded, but he wasn't a threat, just needed directions. I was still very amped up from the adrenalin dump. She had already called the cops she told me. I saw them with rollers on coming toward the convenience store a mile down the road as I was driving away. This was a good three minutes after the incident happened. I could have been dead if that guy had attacked me and I wasn't able to defend myself. Self defense is up to you. Do not count on the professionals to save you.
As I write this I can't tell you enough how my martial arts training has helped me to assess people and situations. From the get go I knew two things - this guy was not in an aggressive stance, and that I was VERY uncomfortable when he kept coming close to me. Watching the Bas Rutten street self defense videos cured me of letting someone get the range on me very quickly.
Looking back on it I probably should not have exited the vehicle at all until that guy was in a range I was more comfortable with. Then again he probably would have closed the range over and over. What was wrong with that guy? Hard of hearing? Partially blind? Was I a mark and did he perhaps think I was going to let him in close? Things happenned so fast. Don't they always?