Talking about thinking coolly in a crisis, in this post reminded me of an instance where that very much didn’t happen.
Yeh, so you know in films where some bloke runs in and shouts, “They’re beating up thingwot, come and help” and everyone gets up and runs with him to the rescue? Yeh well that doesn’t happen in real life. What they do in real life is ask you about fifty million pointless questions interspersed with the phrase ‘calm down’ while you shout, repeatedly, “Will you just come the f**k with me to rescue so and so?”
Here’s how I learned that this scenario is in absolutely no way, whatsoever, based on fact….
One Saturday night, aged about 18, I was walking home with a boyfriend and about 100 yards from our house he was attacked. We knew his assailant had 10 friends round the corner because we’d walked through them. I thought about kicking the bloke in the nuts but he looked pretty beefy and able to take down both of us. I wondered whether to knock on the door of a nearby house but I knew they wouldn’t dare let us in. So I hit on a cunning plan. I would go and get reinforcements. My own house was 100 yards away containing my dad a 6ft 2 ex rower and my brother, a well built 6ft 4.
So I ran to my house as fast as I could; speed was of the essence. I was calm until I tried to unlock the door. Lots of adrenaline = shaky hands. Did it but the thing that made it hard was not my shaky hands. It was the key my parents had left in the other side. Yes, they’d locked us out, and left the key in, making it impossible for us to get in. Except that by some miracle, I managed to get my key into the lock – yay! But it dropped out and jammed under the door meaning it opened about five inches and wedged fast.
I try to pull it closed again but it’s wedged fast. I ring the bell.
Dad and brother come to the door, taking their time.
“Quick! come with me, X is getting beaten up. Please come and help him,” I say. Imagine a voice of urgency here and a slightly shaky demeanour but I still had a handle on the panic. I push at the door. Trying to move it but it’s wedged fast.
“Calm down, we’ll get this open,” Dad gets down and sees the problem at once. “You’ve jammed the key underneath it.”
Why was it even in there? Yes, I thought that.
“Forget about the key. Come out of the back door, X is getting beaten up. NOW. I came home for your help.” The tone of my voice has gone up and the decibels have increased.
“Why would I want to come out of the back? It’s alright, it’ll be open in a minute. What’s the hurry?”
“They’re beating up X. Please come and help.” (Screaming).
“There nearly got it. Where’s X?” asks Dad.
“For fuck’s sake! Why d’you think I’m in this state? He’s getting beaten up!”
“What?” asks Bro.
“Beaten up, attacked just down there.” I point.
“OK calm down, come inside and tell us all about it,” says Bro.
“I can’t come in and fucking calm down. X is just down the road being beaten to a pulp and he needs our help.”
“Ah that’s got it,” says Dad. “We’ll have this door open in a jiffy.”
They opened the door then. The porridge-headed smeckers. Just as X turned up looking reproachful.
“Oh hello X. What happened to you?”
X throws me a look as if to say “you didn’t fucking tell them?”
“Everything alright?” says Dad.
Of course it’s fucking not.
“No I’ve just been attacked,” says X.
The penny finally drops.
“Where did you go?” X asks me reproachfully
“I came to get help but it went wrong.” I glare at Dad and Bro. Very wrong.
X looks at me even more reproachfully, and I realise he’s thinking, “yeh right. Coward,” and know that our relationship is doomed.