Friday, February 02, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmm...

A quick trip to the bank this afternoon as well as enabling me to enjoy the dubious benefits of warm winter sunlight also brought me into close contact with a much uglier side of life...

There I am minding my own business when ahead of me I spy a young buck bodily manoeuvring his girlfriend against the wall of a shop fa├žade and pushing his face very insistently into hers. Now he didn’t throw or push her violently into the wall, he didn’t nut her in the face, he didn’t even raise his voice – the violence was all under the surface and possibly only within my own perceptions but I recognize negative body language when I see it.

For her part it was plain she wasn’t happy. She was craning her head away from his and telling him – albeit very familiarly – no. Plainly a lover’s spat and not really any need to get involved.

So why did I feel guilty for walking on past them? The girl and I briefly made eye contact but I got no sense of her asking for help. In fact all I picked up from her was her embarrassment at the way her twot of a boyfriend was acting in public. Hence I decided not to stop.

But as I walked away I couldn’t help thinking what a bad thing she’s on to with Mr Pushy. He might not be a woman beater (yet) but his behaviour is surely the thin end of the wedge. If I started physically manoeuvring Karen around I think we’d both recognise that things were in a terribly bad way and that one if not both of us were in need of professional help.

She needs to bail out now. Before things turn really ugly. I just hope she sensed that in the pained look I gave her as our eye contact broke...

2 comments:

Old Cheeser said...

It's nice that you obviously cared enough about this incident to write about it.

Unfortunately these kind of things go on all the time. I don't think you were wrong to carry on walking and you shouldn't feel guilty - as much as the girl was obviously having a bad time, it probably would have been a mistake to get involved. However if he'd started hitting her that would probably have been a good point to intervene or at least call the police.

I live in London and these kind of things go on all the time, unfortunately. Worse than that, if you or I were getting beaten up or attacked, a lot of people would probably just turn a blind eye or carry on about their business without raising a finger to help. A friend of mine was once threatened on a bus by a gang of youths and had a bottle thrown at him and no-one did anything (well, the driver did chuck eventually them off but whilst he was being threatened none of the passengers did anything atall). I remember one night coming home on the nightbus with my partner and this loony toon guy started threatening to hit me just because I closed one of the windows!!

Okay, this is a slightly different scenario to violence in a relationship but you know what I mean. It's a nasty world we live in sometimes and it's depressing what some people are capable of. My theory is that people who are aggressive and get off on committing violence against others are usually deeply insecure and unhappy individuals themselves and are just projecting all their rubbish onto others - which includes people in relationships. When you have a relationship with people like that it's ultimately very destructive for those concerned.

Steve said...

Totally agree - but part of me can't help but feel that I'm merely rationalizing an innate cowardice! However, I suspect that if I had intervened I could easily have made things worse rather than better - after all I'm making huge assumptions about two people who I've only ever seen for a mere 10 seconds on the street... who knows what the true dynamic of their realtionship is? Still, if someone is displaying that much violent body language in public it must be a safe bet that they're not entirely reasonable in their attitudes and interactions with other people...

Ok. I'm off my soap-box now!