The softest thing under heaven
gallops triumphantly over
The hardest thing under heaven.
Who needs actions when you got words?
A couple years ago, I was taking a late night walk with my dog friend Fargo in the Park Ave. neighborhood of Rochester NY (not to be confused with that other Park Avenue somewhere else in NY state)…was looking after him while his human roommate was out of town…or he was looking after me…probably a bit of both.
We were over near some Park Ave. bars where college kids hang out, and, there in the back parking lot of one, a college guy and girl were grappling violently, as she—kind of a classic sorority girl—was trying to get away, and he—kind of a classic jock—wasn’t letting her, was holding on tight, in fact, as she struggled to escape.
This created a quandary. I’m really not the kinda guy who gets into fights outside of bars…or anywhere else, for that matter…particularly not with college jock types half my age who could easily kick my ass no matter how drunk they are. Then, I also like to think I’m not the kinda guy who’s gonna keep walking while somebody gets assaulted.
So, I stopped, thinking I had to do something—preferably not involving me simply taking her place as his object of aggression.
And…I stood there…for a minute or two….until she, still in his drunken grip, turned to me, and yelled: “Tell him to let go of me!”
Which sounded like a better plan than any I could think of. So, in a soft, non-threatening voice, I said “let go of her.”
And here’s the weird part: he did—almost as soon as I’d spoken, she was released from his grip and walking rapidly across the street…while he, galumphing like some old Hollywood Frankenstein monster, followed.
She turned to me again, “tell him to leave me alone!”
And I, not knowing what else to do, in the same soft, calm voice, said “leave her alone”
And—seriously…you can ask the dog about this—like a trained bear, the guy stopped in his tracks, pivoted, and walked away.
A while ago, I told this story at Yoga for Cynics, and commenters compared me to Obi Wan Kenobi—to which I replied, silently, to myself, “a Jedi…I can get with that.” Later, told the story to one of my yoga teacher friends, who said “but were you the Jedi, or was she?”