Thursday, 3 February 2011

The unwelcome Samaritan

Back in the day, when I was a student, resident in a room in some former old people's home – and fire-trap to boot (exits were all via wooden stairs) – I was on my way home one night from the philosophy debating club, when I passed one of those then popular restyled, re-furb, Irish bars. I'd dropped in on occasion. Fond of stout. Anyway, I saw a couple arguing outside. It must have been a pretty vociferous affair, because I stopped to observe closer. Turns out the man was hitting the woman and, apparently, he wasn't pulling his punches, at least not on account of, for whatever reason, the fact that he was striking a lady. It wasn't my sense of offence at the breaking of chivalric code, it just didn't look like a fair fight. It looked, for want of a better description, plain ugly. But I approached them – angry and a little frightened – crossed the road - and, in the steadiest voice I could muster at the time, suggested that, whatever their difficulties, surely there was a better way to sort out their troubles. She told me to, “fuck off” and, “mind my own business” and, at that, I did. Perhaps it was a combination of fear and self-preservation. The man dipped his oar in too, with a mix of half-articulate and grammatically ill-formed threats. So I turned and left. The cheek.

True story.


  1. Ironic. A similar scene unfolded around me in the Central West End in St. Louis one winter. In my version, the prfessionally dressed couple were walking on the other side of the street and the male backhands the female— left a knot of pity-disgust-fear in the pit of my stomach. It paralyzed me in a Joycean epiphany. Disgust? Perhaps. Shock? Yes. I had no manner of response. Save fall back into a Irish-style pub and try to forget.

  2. My sister once punched me in the face. Good shot. I deserved it. Broke a tooth. I was angry. Don't even remember the substance of the dispute. But what I don't understand - can't abide - is the extreme hysteria some people get themselves in over the, frankly, trivia.

  3. It's no wonder cops hate domestic abuse calls more than any others.

    Maybe its a perversion of something good, like most wrong acts..for lack of better of the family unit.

    Or maybe they're just sickos :).