Random Assault is The New "Hey Buddy, You Got Any Spare Change?"
Some total stranger walked up to me last night and punched me in the gut.
Me and my wife had just finished eating dinner in Alameda (a semi-snooty island off the coast of Oakland) and were walking to our car. A few steps down the road, I looked up and noticed a vaguely homeless looking guy walking towards us. Having lived, worked and played in shitty neighborhoods my entire adult life, this did not upset me in the least. What I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty sure I didn't provoke this guy by being a scared white yuppie or anything. Regardless, however, as the man walked by me, he leaned over and socked me right in the bread basket. He then kept walking down the street as if nothing had happened. No witnesses, no grandstanding or shouting, just the ol' lean and punch. Even my wife, who was standing right next to me had no idea what had just happened. After it had happened, she asked me with only mild interest, "What was that?". I had to think about it. What the fuck was that?
Upon reflection, I think you learn a lot about yourself in situations like these. This was definitely not a 'fight or flight' situation. I never thought my life was in danger, and it wasn't a hard enough punch to make me cough up blood or anything, just a good solid shot to the midsection. To be honest, it took me at least 2 seconds to process what had just happened. "Wait a minute.. Did that guy just... What the fuck?". I then, and this is the funny part, turned around and said, "Thanks! Thanks a lot!". That's right, I learned that faced with physical assault from a stranger, I will remain courteous and thankful and will wish him good luck in all his future random fisticuffs.
While I'd like to think that if it was a more violent attack I would've responded with more force, I guess I can't really be sure since it's never happened. Who knows, maybe if someone attacked me with a switchblade and started stabbing me in the chest, I'd just lay back, smile and give the guy pointers on his technique. "Hey guy, I sure appreciate this, but it would go a lot faster if you cut instead of stab. I mean, you're not even hitting any major organs here".