Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm Too Small for My Impulses

John and I went to see "The History Boys" when it was playing in Manhattan, and during the intermission went out into the street.  A stocky man of medium height rushed out of the theater, dragging a light-skinned black, teenaged boy by the neck.  He slammed him against the wall.  He was shouting, enraged.  The boy looked stunned; his dark eyes were wide open.  In his blue blazer, shirt and tie he looked like one of the history boys.  He did not fight back.  

I did.  I rushed at the man.  'Stop it,' I shouted.  He let go of the boy and with his arms extended ran after me.  Somehow I got away and hid behind John, cowering.  I am just a little over five feet tall and weigh a hundred pounds.  John is a large tall man.  (Both of us were in our sixties.)  I peeked around him.  The man was screaming, 'She can't talk to me that way.'  His eyes popped out; he was red in the face, and kept waving his hands.

'And what do you think you are going to do?' John said in a low steady, almost nonchalant voice.  I had my hand on his broad muscled back.  The man went silent.  He dropped his arms and walked away into the theater with the boy in front of him.

I followed but lost sight of them.  When I told an attendant what had happened, she gave me a weak smile.  There was nothing to be done.  Of course, I should have called 911; I had my cell phone with me, but my impulses took over.  At least John and I diverted the man, and he stopped beating the boy.  Next time I'll have to think before I go up against a dangerous person. It won't do to act like a foolhardy pup if I'm going to try to help someone.

PS: after reading this post, John wanted me to include the race of the abuser: he was white.  Does knowing his race and the race of the boy may a difference to the story?    

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