I checked my bike and I fiddled around with my helmet, taking my time to suss him out. If he planned on mugging me, I wanted to face him. I wanted to see him coming. I wanted it to happen on my own time, and not by surprise. I wanted to look him in the eye.
After half-a-minute, the moment had passed. I decided he wasn’t going to do anything. He had receded deeply into the shadows. My bike was firmly locked up (twice!). I went into the store with no thought now but my empty stomach.
As I approached the counter to pay for my box of Kraft Dinner (yes, I was desperate), a visibly shaken man rushed into the store and asked to use the phone. Someone had just attempted to mug him a few yards from the entrance. The assailant’s description fit what I had seen, and the mugging was attempted at knife-point and with pepper spray.
So why didn’t the mugger attack me? Who knows?! But I know what I did: I stood my ground. I looked. I assessed. By taking my time, by owning my space, I let him know I controlled this situation. Above all, I listened to my instinct and I didn’t dismiss it as paranoia. All these things, I learned in my IMPACT class in 1995. My self-defense skills still work, 17 years later. Next time, I will call attention to a creepy person before they have a chance to act, now that I trust my gut feeling. Nine-One-One!
When I graduated from the Core Program, my instructor, Margaret, said “Congratulations! Now that you know how to fight, you might not have to do it.” In this case, she was right: the other self-defense skills I’d learned stood me in good stead, preventing the need for full-impact self-defense. The confidence that I could take him down increased my understanding and awareness of what might be going on. And the evening’s bonus: my bike and I rode home in style, in the squad car.