Friday, January 11, 2008

Lines in the Dirt, 2

Continued from "Lines in the Dirt"

Put yourself in this scenario:

You normally don't park so far from the mall entrance at night, but there were no spaces closer. Your hands are full of bags from the store, and you see him. Your internal "orc-alert" begins glowing, a blue flame.

He says, "Need help with those packages?"

Maybe you're just being paranoid. Maybe he just wants to help. "No, I'm fine."

He moves closer, smiling. "It's no trouble. Someone helped me right here last week, and I'd like to pass it on. Let me take some of those for you." He reaches out.

"No, really. I can handle it."

You can handle the packages, but can you handle what's about to happen next? Through indecision (and, perhaps a little denial) you let a stranger get too close, and your hands are still filled and useless for defense. In one more second the momentum will be all his.

In another Lines in the Dirt, 3, I'll present a better reaction to to an approaching stranger. (Incidentally, how many pre-incident indicators of violence can you identify in the above scenario? Should be easy if you've read The Gift of Fear.)


Raquel said...

Let's see, the most obvious one is "not taking no for an answer"; he also could be considered to give "too many details", and I can't remember the succinct phrase for this, but he forces an 'us' view of the situation by implying common ground. Did I miss any?

Gravelbelly said...

Good! You got "discounting the word no", "too many details", and forced teaming. I intended one more. Let's see if anyone else gets it.