Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 06 2004

Sometimes you’re looking for a fight, and sometime…

Sometimes you’re looking for a fight, and sometimes the fight comes looking for you.

I’d just finished purchasing a new power unit for my computer yesterday afternoon at a shop near Guanghua Market, and I was returning back down Xinsheng to the MRT station on Zhongxiao when I saw Half-life 2 for sale at a store called Lea-te Media. I took a copy from the shelf at the door and took it in to purchase, but the woman at the counter said it was the Chinese version. I asked if they carried the English version, but she said no, the English version wasn’t available in Taiwan.

Wonderful. I took the package back to where I’d found it, slapped it back on the shelf and was starting back towards the MRT when I was shoved violently from behind. Hearing cursing, I whirled around to find a stocky man of about 40 literally attacking me with his fists. I was so surprised I forgot to defend myself and he got a punch to my jaw in before I could start blocking.

“How dare you!” he was shouting, accusing me of destroying merchandise.

So here was this fight, laying on my doorstep all tied up with a bow, just for me. My gut was telling me to beat the guy to a pulp, while my brain was telling me to find out more about the situation. After blocking another blow, I decided on the latter.

“What the hell are you on about? Are you the owner or something?” I yelled back at him. He said he was.

“Well, I’m sorry I put your precious merchandise back on the shelf with too much force, but you shouldn’t be attacking people, much less your own fucking customers.” A lame reply, I know. I’m sure I could have thought of something better if I’d had time beforehand.

At this moment, several things were happening: At the mention of the word ‘sorry’, the guy backed off, saying “Well, ok then.” A group of people appeared out of the shop, bowing at me and apologizing for the fellow’s behavior. And my gut was doing an excellent job of convincing my brain it was wrong. I am usually slow to anger. Not petulance; that comes easily enough, but real anger. Once the rage is there, however, it’s deep and hard to get rid of.

But it was over, so I went over to the curb to cool off, the violent owner glaring at me from his shop. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t attack him now, so I went across the street and took a picture of the shop in question. As I did, I noticed that the sign had been destroyed, apparently in a violent fashion involving flame, as scorch marks were visible around the remains of the frame. I wondered if the guy was a gangster, in trouble with other gangsters, or both.

On the subway home all of the adrenalin and expectations of violence were still swilling around in my bloodstream with no release. I felt miserable, a million different, seemingly better reactions crowding my mind. I had defended myself, extricated myself from the situation, made it on time to the shoot I had later in one piece, and, as far as I knew, wasn’t on any more hit lists than I was before.

And I still felt like shit about it.

posted by Poagao at 2:28 am  

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