Depravity and Violence

If the guy wants to attack you, he will. There will be little to no build up, few, if any ‘tells’. In fact, chances are you won’t even know you’ve been stuck with a screwdriver until you look down at the hole in your shirt as the white cotton starts to blot the blood. We live in a cruel world and its not the actual interaction with an assailant that one should seek to avoid, because by this stage its too late. Instead, what we need to watch out for are the subtle signals that the environment emits. It is these that we should learn to decipher and decode. For instance its the man appearing in the periphery of our vision that we should watch, the one who is trying too hard to blend in, the one trying too hard to look inconspicuous.

These are the types of lessons I learnt living in the harsh, depraved streets of London, England.

A month ago, I happened to be sitting in a Denny’s greasy spoon on the Las Vegas strip. It was late evening and I was sat, tucked into a booth listening to the young man positioned directly in the booth behind. He was animated, raising his voice as he shouted into his mobile telephone. He was uttering threats, saying how ‘tonight’ he was ‘prepared to go to jail’ and that someone was ‘going to get hurt’. The patrons of the restaurant were growing increasingly uncomfortable, fearing that the young man’s agitation would spill out from his telephone and into the restaurant. The young man couldn’t see my face as I tucked into my eggs and coffee. You see, I knew that his posturing was nothing more than ‘puffery’; the ramblings of an ego that had gone unchecked and that he was not serious enough to commit to the crimes he was suggesting. In short, it appeared obvious that there would be no follow through on the threats. It was the telephone equivalent of puffing out ones chest; mere posturing. And, I knew that his bullshit threats would amount to nothing.

You see, violence seldom happens invited. There is no fanfare that signals the impending explosion of sound and fury. Violence is an unwelcome guest, armed with a knife and chain that bursts through the door leading into our lives. It is the person that sneaks up from behind, pulling our hair with such incredible force that our imbalance sends us reeling, teeth first, into the pavement.

I finished my eggs, paid and left, unchanged from the man I had been when I first sat down to order. As I walked, I appeared calm, absorbing as much information about the terrain, the people, the buildings, distances, clothes, eye colour, litter, traffic, ambient temperature as I possibly could. I took special notice of the people who appeared to be trying too hard to appear inconspicuous. I returned safely, to my hotel room.

Thank you London, for your lessons.

3 Responses to “Depravity and Violence”

  1. authenticizeit Says:

    Brilliant. Fish and chips lessons. Some I learned when I didn’t realize I was learning them – YEARS ago.

    If ONLY I could’ve known. If ONLY I would’ve extrapolated the meat from those moments and fed them into the life I chose to live for too many years after the fact.

    I know now. And reading these words confirms what I know that I wish I had known I knew…Those London days.


  2. England Boi Says:

    Whoa man. I heard London can be quite rough. Respect.

  3. For those of us who fortunately never had to – or have yet to – experience the brutal reality “of the streets”, the question then becomes did you survive with your soul intact and/or how did you break out of this reality?

    However, I will second “england boi”. Respect.

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