Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If only life could be like movies...sometimes

The other night, I witnessed something disturbing on the bus. Well, almost any time I ride the bus I witness at least one disturbing thing. But this was downright troubling. A woman, her male companion and either her sister or friend got on with three little kids in tow. The mom got aggravated at the kids, yelled at them and then snatched them by their arms and slammed them into a seat together. Kind of the way you might pick up and toss a sack of cat litter if it fell on your foot, except you'd probably be gentler because the sack could actually break and spill cat litter everywhere. The kids were moving too damn slow for her, she just got tired of it and she snapped. This was what she deemed an appropriate response to toddlers (the oldest being four-years-old, maybe) climbing on a bus at 11:30 on a Monday night, daring to commit the sin of being lethargic. 
I almost said something right then and there and I absolutely would have gotten involved if it had gotten any worse. And by getting involved, I mean I would have told her to knock it off, alerted the bus driver that there was a problem, called the cops if necessary and as an absolute last resort if things became completely unglued, intervened physically. It didn't so I just sat there, glaring at the three adults with my heart aching as I thought about how shitty those kids' lives are and the likelihood of some kids born 15 years from now who would have lives just as shitty, if not worse. It's all I could do because as an adult who's been around a while who has seen and done real-life bad, sad situations, I knew that initiating a confrontation based on what I'd seen, even just a verbal one, wouldn't do any good. It wasn't severe enough for cops to take action, it would have traumatized the kids, I probably would have gotten in trouble and it wouldn't have changed whatever goes on in that household.
However, as a child who grew up reading superhero comics and watching Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood movies, I couldn't help letting my mind wander. In that dimension, the bad guy getting punched in the mouth is a tremendously satisfying and decisive means of resolving a conflict.
Exhibit A
Especially if it's preceded by some kick-ass dialogue...

ME: Lady, you touch those kids like that again and I will knock you into a new kind of coma so deep that they'll name it after you.
DUDE (boyfriend, husband, whatever): Yeah? You'll have to go through me to do it, mister.
ME: Oh absolutely. I'd happily kill you just to get a shot at her.
DUDE: Huh?
ME: Yeah! See, I think I'll just punch you right in the throat. That way, you'll die in agony, futilely gasping for air. But you'll still be conscious enough to see me invert her nose and render her eligible for parking in the produce section at the supermarket at the same time, helpless to do anything except gurgle a little.
THE MOM (for lack of a better description): *Gasp!* What?!?
ME: That's right. It doesn't matter to me that you're sort of woman-esque or that you're wearing glasses. I will totally go "Extreme Makeover: Voldemort" on your ugly ass, like my fists are cinderblocks made of hand grenades.
THE OTHER WOMAN-LIKE CREATURE: Now wait a minute, you...
ME: Oh, don't think I forgot about you, you miserable skank. If you try to get in the middle of this, they'll harvest your internal organs with a ShamWow. Any questions?
(ALL THREE stare at me silently, until one of them makes a move to pull out an enormous gun and I proceed to savagely beat the living daylights out of all three of them for about 20 minutes or so, concluding with them in the bus, on fire, as it crashes into a barbed wire factory. I then turn the kids over to the billionaire who invented frozen yogurt and had always wanted children but could never have any.)

That sure would have beaten having to sit there and not be able to do anything.


RottenMom said...

Ohh, this breaks my heart to read this.

I very nicely tried to talk to a Mom who was overwhelmed and abusive to her kids in a store. She clearly was not happy with my intervening. So unhappy that she waited for me to come out of the store later to berate me in the parking lot. Silly her. I got her license plate number.

It's a fine line to walk when you witness something like that and don't know what you should or can do. I worry about speaking up only to anger the adult more and have the child be the target of that anger.

Hopefully your evil glares gave those 3 adults something to think about.

Misty said...

1-800-96 ABUSE is the number to call in Florida to report abuse for future use.

It is definitely a fine line. If you did say something, the kids could have very well paid for it when they got home. If the kids are treated that way in public I can only imagine how they are treated at home!

Let's hope the mom was just upset and tired because it was late.

Denise said...

I sure wish you ruled the world, Clark.



Well, I wish you at least had some hand in the justice system. There should be superheroes to rescue kids from those situation.

ronnyelliott said...

Let's throw in together to devise simple plans to save the world. We had better hurry, Clark, before one more soldier dies in Afghanistan or one more kid starves in Somalia. Let's get good outfits, too. Pray for peace, buddy.

Why, it's Clark! said...

Thanks, everybody. And Misty, thanks for that phone number. I'm putting it in my phone right now. Anything is better than nothing in a situation like that.