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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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« rudolph splat | Main | self-defense »

holiday pet peeves

Thanks so much for the suggestions and encouragement in blatherchat and private email about my Hasty Market encounter a few days ago. Here are just a few of the comments:

"Debbie-- Sorry you had to endure the masher in the grocery. You might have been better off to pummel him with a loaf of french bread. The proper loaf can double as a bat any day. Seriously, get the manager, get other help, get the cops and get out, not necessarily in that order. My response to thugs and bullies is never correct. I spent too many years in the brotherhood of arms and I still believe in peace through superior firepower. Your response always must be something you can live with; something to protect you, something that works for you. Informed vigilance and a little self defense knowledge are probably your best bets." - Richard

"Ouch, Debbie. Sorry to hear about your Hasty Market encounter. I would guess that experts might be able to tell you which course of action would be the most statistically likely to work, but it's still something of a roll of the dice, especially with someone as unpredictable as this guy sounded. Certainly going straight to a place with more people (the checkout) sounds like a good idea. Knowing self-defense is a good thing, although you hope to not have to use it. Still a big plus, though, both in case it _does_ get to that extreme, and to take some of the fear out of the situation for you (and, besides making you feel better, your lessened fear will probably be visible to the potential assailant)." - Paul

"Sympathies Debbie. As far as what to do. Every situation is different but the options come down to Fight, Shout, Run or combinations of the three." - Teddy

"Hi Debbie, My sympathies. Yup, I've been in a situation like that, too. In fact a couple. The one that bears the most similarity was when I was walking home after a late shift (about 11pm) down a very quiet and dark suburban road. I was aware that someone was following me, I peeked. It was a man. I speeded up, he speeded up, I slowed down, he slowed down. I crossed the road, he crossed the road. Basically it became entirely clear that he was following me for a *reason*. And what good reasons are there after 11pm? And despite several years of very aggressive martial training, what happened? I froze. My legs turned to jelly and I acted just like a rabbit frozen in headlights. When he eventually made his move, I couldn't run because I was so frightened. So I stood there and shouted at him, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING FOLLOWING A WOMAN AT THIS TIME OF NIGHT! STUPID MORON!" etc. etc. And to my intense relief he mumbled something about wanting to know the way somewhere and ran off. I stood there for a good couple of minutes before finally getting into the house, bursting into tears and collapsing on the floor. Not nice. Fear paralyses us all. On the other hand, I'm quite capable of sticking up for other people in very dodgy situations. I've broken up fights,and tackled disruptive drunks, but I can only do this for someone else. As soon as it is *me* that is threatened, I freeze. On a very basic level - we're all just rabbits." - Annie

"Hey Debbie, when someone bothers me in a public place(with other people around) I usually firmly and politely ask them to leave me alone, in a voice loud enough for others to hear. When I am alone, I do my best to find a place where there are other people, and if not, I confront them (similar to what Annie did) because most people will not take the risk of attacking an aggressive woman." - Andrea

I've resolved to take a self-defense course in the new year. Even if I wouldn't necessarily be able to -use- some of the solutions proposed in the course, at the very least it might help improve my self-confidence in future similar situations.

Jeff's still sick. My bug's still hanging on, but isn't nearly as bad as his. I've actually finished my Christmas shopping. Sadly, I didn't get to send out Christmas cards this year.


    Rolls of wrapping paper that are -taped- closed inside the package. It's impossible to take the tape off without ruining several inches of wrapping paper.

    Saggy socks that come off when you remove your boots.

    The version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" on Rosie's Christmas CD.

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