The one where the woman got kicked in the face …. because of me

Yesterday something happened which will remain with me for quite some time.  Forever possibly.  It’ll be that thing that I lie awake at night thinking about and wondering if I had acted differently would the outcome have been affected.

I interview at public places – so it might be a McDonalds or a Mugg and Bean or a where ever.  It’s convenient, and I also like the fact that I am in a public area when I am meeting someone who I do not know.

Yesterday it was at a McDonalds, I use the same one regularly and I know the staff at this point, and it is comfortable.

My social anxiety does make it a challenge to interview, and added to that if I interview in an unfamiliar place it makes it more so.

As with most of these places there are usually several self appointed car guards, who exchange their time of staring at your car to ensure that no harm comes to it, for a few rand.

Now, the idea of car guards is not an issue for me.  I am a good tipper of car guards, and especially the other guys who help push your trolley and unpack your bags into the car.  Those guys I love!!  Especially when I have bought a few 25 kilogram pool salt bags.

So we have established I have no issue with both these entrepreneurial arms of the work force and the services they render.

These particular “car guards” who frequent this particular McDonalds are more of the class of vagrants, who have nicked day-glo green bibs and stand around looking like they are in various degrees of enhibiration the later the day gets.  But hey, who am I to judge.  Leave me in a parking lot staring at cars with a bib, and odds are I will be drinking wine through a straw by 09h00.

I don’t expect much from “my” car guards. I like them to say hello, and then make overtures of how they are going to protect my vehicle against what ever might happen (I don’t necessarily believe this sales pitch), and then when I return I like the person to match me to my car – because that tells they remember me, and maybe they have actually taken superior care of my car.

Then I also expect “my” car guards to not be fighting and screaming and screaming things like “jou ma’s se poes” (for those outside of South Africa, it is basically a reference to your mothers genital area ——- and you know when someone lays that down, that this shit just got real).  It is often the preamble to “what are you going to do with that knife?  Stab me?

The car guard “syndicate” at this particular parking area is made up of two men, and one woman.  I often hear the woman going off pop, and screaming things that make me smile and also sort of make me walk faster to my car to get in and push the automatic lock system.

Yesterday it happened again.  I had seen a skirmish had started between the one man and the one female.  Her appearing like the aggressor from my vantage point. She was the only one throwing things, smacking and swearing. The guy sort of stood there and stoically took his beating, with that look on his face that said he had already given up on this life shit ages ago.

I looked at this and figured, if they remained where they were I could walk past and get into my car and not get involved.

There was a lot of “jou ma se poes” going on and a few other colloquialisms which I did not quite get.

When I reversed (whilst the car guards were showing me how to reverse …. its a service I don’t particularly need, but I leave them to do what ever they feel comfortable with} I rolled down my window and said to them that I am a regular here, and I see them often, and generally I do tip.

I explained that whilst they fight and carry on in the parking lot like this, I am not going to tip them.  The one man mentioned something about the woman, and how she was the other man’s girlfriend.

{The woman was not there at the time, she had sauntered off after the screaming and swearing}

I told him I did not care whose girlfriend she was — and this is where I made my critical error in judgement: “Whilst that malletjie (mad person) is here and carrying on like that, I am not going to tip you guys.  Sort your shit out.  Everyone in the restaurant can see you and it really is not cool.  Get your shit together guys.”

I drove off, and they waved, and I thought “okay that’s done” – I was then sitting in a queue where there is an exit onto the main road out of the restaurant parking lot.

I see some movement to my left and I take a look over.  I see the woman from earlier sitting under a tree, doing what ever you do when you are homeless and are sitting on your mattress under a tree in a McDonalds parking lot.  She was moaning and swearing and gesticulating with a certain amount of fervour.

The guy (possibly her boyfriend) was walking over to her and he too was swearing and gesticulating.

I thought to myself, she is going to get up and beat the shit of this guy, pretty much like I saw her do before in the parking lot.

I was wrong.  Not for the first time on that particular day it would seem.

This guy walked up to her, I could not hear what they were saying as I was too far away and my windows rolled up.  I saw him kick her – right in the fact.  She fell the floor trying to move into the fetal position. He then continued to KICK – with all his might – KICK HER in the face.  She barely had time to bring her hands up to protect her face.

She tried to scramble away, but that exposed her abdomen and he did that kick thing when you bring your foot down and stamp someone rather than kick them.

I sat there horrified.  And mute.  And paralysed.

I am not sure what else happened, as the cars infront of me had moved and the cars behind me were hooting.

There was no where for me to pull off on the side and go back and try and do something.

I was horrified, and realised that my telling the guys that I was not going to tip them whilst they acted like hooligans, was directly translated into “while that woman is making a scene you guys are not getting any money!”

I drove away shaken, not knowing what to do. And feeling this deep veil of guilt that I had been the cause of this woman getting the living shit beaten out of her.

I also could not go back by myself into that situation.  By myself.  If that guy was happy to beat the living shit out of someone who he appeared to have as a girlfriend, what would he do to stupid me stumbling in being all moral high road and shit.’

So, no I did nothing.

I did not call the police.  I was sure telling them there were two bergies/vagrants who were having a fight would get about as much interest as whether the fire pool was really necessarily over at the Zuma Manse.

I am sorry I got involved. If I had kept my mouth shut, it probably would not have happened.

that thing

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4 Comments

  1. Sadly, if he was prepared to beat her there, in full view of everyone, it’s something that happens often. While your comments *MIGHT* have been the cause of this particular instance, you are not responsible for HIS actions. It was HIS choice to beat her. You did not physically make him do it.

    Big hugs to you. It was a horrible situation to be a part of, no matter how tangentially. If you want to you, you could always try to slip the woman some info about domestic violence and/or look up local shelters?

    Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing this story. The reality of how what we say, to who we say it and where we say it can have disasterous, sometimes tragic, consequences for someone we may not know. Sorry that you experienced this😦

    Reply
  3. I don’t think you can blame yourself. Quite rightly you have a right to tip under conditions you find acceptable. And it would have been dangerous to get involved. In hindsight you know to let well alone, but personally… why go to this McD’s anyway? It looks dicey to me. Or maybe next time park a block away lol.

    Reply
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