Yesterday I was walking through a seedy part of East London talking to my fourteen year old son. Ahead, about half a block away, I noticed a cluster of ruffians obstructing the path.
Specifically, one man stepped out in front of us, planting himself solidly in my way. He was what in the UK we would call a hard-man; the shorthand from home would be skinhead, though that term means something entirely different here than it did where I grew up. In short, his tattooed muscular form did not convey "cute hipster bartender."
Without any conscious thought whatsoever I sailed straight at him, filled with a serene and righteous indignation.
He didn't move. I did not slacken pace.
There was aggressive eye contact. There was bristling. Then I was literally in his face and fully prepared to break his fingers if necessary and … he stepped aside.
I stomped along, still not thinking about much of anything at all, until we had travelled another block and I remembered that I am a parent.
I turned to my kid and said "Never, ever do what I just did."
He rolled his eyes. "As if."