You couldn’t pass from one class to another without bumping people, because the halls were so crowded. Regardless of the endless “excuse me” and “sorry”, this one guy either thought I was dumb enough to believe an elbow slap would actually hurt him or he was looking for a fight.
It was eighth grade for me. For him, it must have been his fourth year in junior high. It was rumored that he was “supposed to be in the eleventh grade”. No doubt he was bigger than me. And he was not intimidated by me, like I was by him.
When he stopped me to challenge why I had elbowed him, he added “let’s take this outside”. I could almost feel his breath on my forehead as he towered over me in the hallway.
Oh, Lord, I thought. I don’t want to fight. What do I do?
Then, out of my mouth came these words:
“If you’re not man enough to stand here and talk about it, then you’re not man enough to go outside.”
What did I just say?
He’s gonna pound me right here and now.
Why aren’t any teachers around to protect me?
He must have been as surprised as me. After a long silence, he said, “don’t worry about it.” And he walked away.
What a relief!
That was then. This is now.
Just as that big ol’ boy was confused, intolerant, or both, we sometimes find ourselves facing a similar enemy. Diffuse such a situation and avoid pain and suffering.
I don’t have that answer. (Why did I even type the question?)
Brace yourself for the occasional and uncomfortable confrontation. You probably aren’t to blame anyway.
Just get out the hallway as fast as you can. And pray.