Clark April 16th, 2007
I was lost in my own thoughts as I slipped down the stairs into the Plaza Italia subway station. I knew I’d be making a sharp right to buy my ticket, then going on down to the platform. In the corner at the bottom of the stairs was about a thirteen-year-old boy slapping the hell out of about a seven-year-old girl. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying. I just saw that he was hitting her hard.
I stepped between them, menaced the boy, and told him that you don’t hit girls.
This is where the keep your nose out of where it doesn’t belong comes in. A large smelly man was there in an instant menacing me. I looked over his shoulder and saw a cop, thank God, very purposefully ignoring us.
The cute little girl—now looking more like a crack whore—was still standing in the corner, but looking at me with just as much hatred as the others. There she was to protect, but now that I had to protect her from a big smelly guy instead of a thirteen year old I wasn’t so tough, was I?
Words were exchanged, but I can’t claim they made much sense. I might have got something out in Spanish to the affect of ‘but he was hitting her.’ What the big man said back I didn’t quite understand either, but his tone said it all: This was his station. I gave one last look at the little girl, scanning her for a cry for help, but she just looked at me like I was an intruder. I took my leave.
This spawned much inner searching. Since I was willing to protect her from a thirteen year old and not a big smelly guy, doesn’t that mean I’m just a bully myself? Was I just looking to bully somebody smaller than me, and this gave me my justification? What would I have done if it had been the big smelly guy slapping her? Would I still have jumped in? Looked for an (honest) cop? Rallied a mob?