Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A New Social Low

I hate to sound like I'm getting old and jaded...but what is with kids these days?

At 22 years old, I honestly thought I was past being high school bullied. For those who don't know, I hated nearly every minute of high school. My experience of it was filled with pushy, bossy, cruel peers intent on tearing down every shred of self-confidence by both overt and sneaky, passive aggressive means. It was a world where everyone is equally as scared and insecure, and yet simultaneously believe that they are completely alone in their intimidation, and where many took to bringing down those around them in order to feel better about themselves (something I would later learn about as a "leveling mechanism" in anthropology and be fascinated by, hmm).

Having said all that, I thought I was done with it. Today I was proven wrong. Today as I walked from the bus stop to my house I passed the local high school which was just letting out for the day. City buses were sitting in front of it waiting for the hordes of students to organize themselves and get on, and there were probably about a hundred students milling about and doing student type things. I ignored them and kept walking up the sidewalk. Was that my mistake? Out of absolutely nowhere a guy standing with a group of other guys puts out his hand and deliberately shoves me sideways, causing me to side step to catch my balance, and land both feet sinking in to a giant muddy puddle. They laughed uproariously at my expense.

I was dumbstruck. I shot them a dirty look, and walked on, being too shocked by the experience and too poor at thinking on my feet to come up with a more appropriate response.

What would have been an appropriate response? How do you deal with someone who will arbitrarily assault a complete stranger?