Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Tuesday
Dec211999

self-defense

HEY! Just found out that Andy Barrie aired the "Technonerdboy" track from our CD on CBC radio this morning!!! I didn't hear it, but we got calls from my mom-in-law and our friend Alison George right after. Very cool. Our second time on national radio! :-)


Jeff was quite sick yesterday, spent most of it incoherent or unconscious in bed. I opted to stay in the livingroom couch last night so that both of us could get a full night's sleep, but I had trouble sleeping anyway and didn't end upfalling asleep until 5 am. Was woken three hours later by a call from someone at Jeff's old workplace (he still does contract work there) who wanted to ask Jeff how to adjust colours in Photoshop.


Yesterday I took a break from work to get a nutritious lunch from Burger King (I would have bought a Happy Meal from MacD's, except they've run out of the Toy Story 2 toys I want). Then I bought some paper towels from a corner Hasty Market. While I was getting them, a large man leaned up against me and started whispering swear words into my ear. I ignored him and went to the checkout counter to pay for my purchases. He got a bottle of pop and brought it to the counter as well. While I was paying, he leaned against me again and started biting my shoulder. Didn't hurt (he only got the cloth of my winter jacket), but I jerked away from him while the women behind the counter yelled at him to get away from me. He grabbed his purchase and ran out of the store without paying.

Even though I wasn't hurt, I have to admit that the incident shook me up a bit, mainly because I felt so helpless. What should I have done? I'm asking for advice. I didn't want to confront the guy...he was very large, and also didn't seem to be entirely all there, if you know what I mean. My tactic of "just ignore him and hopefully he'll go away" obviously didn't work. If he -hadn't- run out of the store at that point, I probably would have started yelling...hopefully that would have gotten the attention of people outside.

I know that chances are good that nothing major would have happened anyway, but it was the man's unpredictable behaviour that made the situation prickly (i.e. somewhat frightening) for me. For a few seconds, I really didn't know what he was going to do, what was going to happen to me. I *hated* feeling helpless and passive like that. Makes me want to go out and take a course in self-defense, but somehow I don't think that would have helped much in this situation.

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