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Walk Away.

Image Courtesy of 123rf. In case the giant glaring watermark doesn't give it away,

I'm going through my workout, about to get to the sitting row when a smaller, skinnier, bald man moves up to the machine at the same time that I do. 
We look at each other, and there's that uncomfortable moment. You know, that "what's this gonna turn into" moment.
He says, thumbing over his shoulder to the woman who'd just gotten off the machine, "We're taking turns, switching off."
Sure enough, the woman who'd left the machine moments ago was now working her legs on the machine he'd just left behind.
There are other things I can do. "Go for it." I say. And I walk away.
After working my abs, I return to the sitting row, where he has completed a set of reps and rises.
I move towards the machine as he begins to move away, and he looks at me as though he caught me stealing. "I figured since you were done," I offer politely, "That I could knock off a couple of sets."
"Yeah, well," He replies in an irritated manner, "Like I said; we're switching off."
"Well..." I return, "You got up. Let me knock off ten and it's all yours."
He rolls his eyes and begins to walk away. "What, you in that much of a hurry?"
I hate it when someone says something deliberately offensive as they're walking away. If you're gonna say something that might get you punched in the mouth, man up and look that person in the face.
"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am." I retort, no longer caring about politeness and rising (my first mistake).
"Then you should've gotten on the shit earlier!" He yells, still walking away.

And that was the moment. 
We all experience it differently, the moment. The moment when your head gets hot, your fists clench, your stomach gets tense and you cease looking at the person like a human being and more like prey.

The scenario begins to play itself out. He comes at me. It's either a lunge, push, punch, or kick. I have a hundred pounds on him, he has reach. Deflect what's coming, and punch him in the chest with everything you have.

Then lose your gym membership.
Then go to jail.
Then lose your job.
Then put your career on hold while you deal with the legal system-yet again.
Then lose any chance you have of rectifying your other legal situation.
Then....lose everything.

Or walk away.
They're only words.
Walk away.
Walk away!!

I hurriedly find Cari, and together we leave the gym. I don't go to jail. I write this instead.
I've been dealing with anger issues my entire life, and I can tell you this much.

Each instance where there can be violence is an opportunity to walk away. There's a line between self-defense and assault, but rather than give into the primal urges, take a moment, just one moment, think about what you have to lose, and walk away.

It's that simple.
Walk away.
Just walk away.

Thanks for reading.


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