domino.jpg   about my daily commute.  I promise that I will one day write about something else.  But this morning I was physically attacked on the bus.  I was not hurt.  I am okay.  I am, however, still processing this experience.  I can say this much.  Being attacked first thing in the morning gets one’s day off to a bad start.  It sucks.   

So here’s what happened.  I’m on the bus sitting half way between the back and the front.  It is full with standing room only when we pull up to the next stop.  Right away, I notice a particular man in the group of waiting passengers and I think “something is just not right (about the man).”  As soon as he boards, I got that kind of uh-oh feeling in my gut and started to avert my eyes as I could feel even at a distance his frenetic energy and did not want him to think I was being aggressively confrontational with my gaze.  But I looked away too late and his eyes found mine and they were like lasers – zooming in and locking into mine.  I knew in that split second that he was going to come back to where I was and knew instinctively to stand up.  Now, standing up on a moving vehicle is dicey for me ever since I blew my left knee out earlier this year but I risked blowing it out again as my gut was saying Loudly “Get Up.  Get Up Now!” 

Meanwhile, Mister Laser Eye Man is pushing and shoving his way back to me all the while talking loudly.  I cannot remember what he was saying other than MF’er was used quite generously.  By the time he reached me, I was standing and he threw his arm across my neck, pinning my head against one of the metal poles.  I was afraid to touch him back as I didn’t want to get him even more agitated but my desire to get him away from me was stronger than my fear.  So I squeezed his upper arm (I couldn’t see his face at that point, he was too close) and said in a very firm voice “Move back!”  I think either my touch or the firmness in my voice got his attention and he did move back enough for us to get eye contact again.  I maintained an “I mean it Mister, look” and he did step back. 

By then, the bus driver had pulled over and I could hear him calling for assistance, I think on his radio or something.  Mister Laser Eye Man then proceeded down the aisle pushing people around and stumbled down the stairs and out the back door of the bus.  Then, instead of waiting to see if assistance did come for the man, the bus driver drove off – like a bat out of hell.  

During all of the commotion and the assault, no one assisted me and no one asked if I was okay afterward.  I ended up asking the frail elderly man sitting across the aisle from me if he was okay as I had seen him pushed over.  He said he was okay.  The woman I was sitting next to, gave me a somewhat sympathetic look after I was seated again but said nothing. 

This evening I realized that the bus driver should have checked to see if I was okay.  But at the time, I was in survival mode and just focused on making it to work as I had a day filled with clients.  In fact, when I arrived at work I had only 15 minutes before I had to sit with my first client.  In some ways I think it was good that I had to focus on others for the day as it allowed me some distance from the experience.  I am now sort of just hanging out with what happened and letting it sift through my consciousness. 

My boss offered me a ride to an East Bay BART station this evening but I declined as I needed to get back on the horse, so to speak, and didn’t want to feel afraid to re-board the muni bus.  So I rode the bus as usual this evening and I was okay.  I am okay.  People aren’t bad for not helping.  Things happened so fast (and yet in slow motion – you know like a car accident).  I wish though that one of the passengers had at least asked if I was okay or extended some act of kindness…  That they didn’t, sucks.  Truthfully, the whole ordeal sucks.  Out loud.