Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guard Down, Lesson Learned

Carl and I just returned from a great weekend in San Francisco. After Carl left on Sunday, I had an afternoon to stroll the 'hood, take in some tourist sights, get some gifts for the family and basically just walk around and take in the city.

I didn't know it at the time, but I had stumbled into an area that was full of art galleries. I like art. And these galleries were top notch. Some of them had originals from masters like Picasso, Rembrandt, and other names that anyone would recognize. I went into a few of these galleries and window shopped many more. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

That is, except for one brief experience that got my adrenalin pumping.

The tourist area of San Francisco is a wonderful place but there is one major downside. Tons and tons of bums. I don't know if the ordinances don't allow the cops to clear them out, of if they are just persistent or what. It was strange to walk by an art gallery that is holding literally millions of dollars worth of paintings and have to shuffle by some dude passed out in front.

While I was staring into one of the art galleries, a bum walked right next to me and said "do you like that?" and touched my arm. Instantly I said pretty loudly "Don't touch me!" (for safety and sanitary reasons). The bum rattled off a stream of racist and other curses and acted as if he was looking for a fight. At this time my back was facing the plate glass window of the gallery. I dropped the gifts that I had purchased for my family, felt my adrenal gland do its thing, turned around, naturally assumed my Muay Thai fighting stance and notified the bum that if he didn't back down that he was going to the hospital whether he liked it or not. The bum muttered some more curses and slinked away.

Looking back on this I made one real big mistake and perhaps one or two minor ones. First and foremost, I should have not been in the position of letting that guy get so close to me. I was mesmorized by the paintings and was just standing there enjoying them, and all the while the bum was probably sizing me up for the tourist that I was and started coming at me and I didn't even know it. I should have been much more aware of my surroundings. Having my back against a window when I wheeled around was not a good deal. This, of course, is a result of getting into that particular situation in the first place.

I did stand my ground rather than fleeing and it worked. The bum looked rather scared when he saw my fists ready to go and the tap tap tap of my front leg that felt so natural and familiar to me from all of my days sparring in the gym. This was probably not the best thing to do as fleeing is the best if you can get away, but the guy was close. You never know if the guy will pull a knife or gun.

In all, I handled the situation fairly well and in the end all that was done was a bum was swearing at me. But I learned a lot and will never let my guard down like that again.


Gerry from Valpo said...

One morning I was walking to Moscone Center with two coworkers and right there at Powell and Market where the cable cars launch there was an open pizza box with a fresh, steaming human turd sitting in it.

SF would be a fabulous city if it weren't for the people.

John Farrier said...

Well done!

Anonymous said...

There are advantages to living in cities known for cold winters...

Glenn B said...

I guess yu will never visit NYC or that if you do you will be paranoid here. Not because of the bums but because people are virtually always that close to you here in crowded areas. It is part of city living. Now, letting a dirty filthy smelly scuzzy bum get that close to you, for as long as he was that close, that may be another question but stuff happens.

Dan from Madison said...

Not paranoid, and I have been to many major cities so I know what to expect. Absolutely no reason to let a bum that close to me though. I let my sitiational awareness guard down, plain and simple.

James R. Rummel said...

Nice anecdote! Sorry I missed it when first posted!