I know, shocking hey? But yep, it really did happen…or almost did.
There I was, walking down Murray Street and I was on the phone to Dad, just chatting away about our days, maybe we were planning to meet up for dinner that night? No idea. I just know Dad was on the phone when I heard it.
“Oi! Get off your f*cking phone!”
The voice was brackish and loud – and really gruff, as if the person speaking had drunk a lot of really hard spirits. I followed the voice to its owner – a homeless woman in a red puffer coat.
I wasn’t being loud, I was in a public area – on a street corner, actually – and she was sitting against a wall facing the corner.
I chose to be the bigger person and ignore her.
“Sorry, what were you saying?” I asked Dad and we carried on with our conversation.
That’s when the homeless woman got UP.
She started yelling again. Louder this time – and was pointing a gnarled finger at me as she slowly approached me.
“I SAID GET OFF THE F*CKING PHONE!!! ARE YOU DEAF? I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU ON IT!”
I tried looking everywhere but at her. My heart started to race and my palms started to sweat. My mouth was dry so I was swallowing and trying to keep a control over my rising fear.
Please don’t come any closer I silently pleaded.
The woman got to about a few feet away. She gestured angrily at my phone.
“I SAID, STOP TALKING!” she yelled.
I turned away and lowered my voice, hoping that would placate her.
I was wrong.
In the blink of an eye, she had come right up to me and with both her hands out, she PUSHED me.
I almost tripped, catching myself before I did and righting my balance.
OH NO YOU DID NOT.
“Dad?” I spoke into the phone as I was watching the homeless woman.
“Yes, Love?” Dad asked, confirming he was there.
“Give me a second, ok?” and I slid the phone into my back pocket.
The homeless lady hadn’t moved and was glaring at me.
But she’d pushed me angrily and I was NOT having THAT.
“Right” I faced her and looked her right in the eye “You’ve just pushed me for doing nothing wrong. I’m on a public street – I’m not in your damn living room. If you EVER lay a hand on me again – I WILL END YOU“
The voice that came out of me was so assertive, strong and level that I almost surprised myself. I was a bit impressed, not gonna lie.
At the words “I will END you“, the homeless woman took a faltering step back.
“Come at me and I will make sure you don’t get back up” I promised, harnessing the energy and authority of my Mom who takes absolutely NO SH*T from ANYBODY.
The homeless woman took a few small steps back, but kept an eye of challenge on me.
I had split into two people at that point – 1 half of me was PUMPED and ready for a fight while the other half of me was panicking. What if she DID want to fight? How do I even make a fist? Do thumbs go on the outside or inside? I don’t know how to punch anyone because I’ve never tried! I would suck at it and probably miss. Then what?
But on the outside, I stood up as tall as my 5 foot frame would allow. I parted my feet so I would have optimum balance and held my arms steady at my side.
“Now,” I pointed at her sleeping bag on the ground by the wall “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP”
…and she did just that.
The lights had changed to ‘green’ and in a swift – AND VERY COOL MOVE – I turned, put my phone to my ear again, and began crossing the street.
“Well done! That’s my girl!” Dad cheered.
I smiled and took deep breaths until my shaking stopped.
That’s me. I’m my Mother’s daughter…and Dad was well proud of me, too.