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Random acts of... (2005/01/08)

Usually these days, you see those words associated with "kindness" or something else cute. Unfortunately, I have to return to the original phrase today...

That would be "random acts of senseless violence" for those of you who didn't make the connection.

I was coming home Friday night around 10:20pm after a long night at work getting a deliverable done with Simon for a Monday morning meeting, taking the N-Judah home like I often do. I was definitely tired, after having a couple (not quite as) late nights this week as the current project chaotically stumbles towards UAT. I was thinking I might get a sausage at Rosamunde, but since they close at 10:00p, I was going to settle for leftovers.

Walking up Pierce, I heard some commotion up ahead of me. I thought it was across the street, so my attention was focused there. I looked (with the bad glasses on) over there and saw nothing, so my attention turned back to the sidewalk in front of me. I saw three guys walking down the sidewalk coming towards me.

Usually when I walk past a group, I will move the outside of the group, just because it's less disruptive to the group and easier for me since I don't have to worry less about the group in my progression. In this case, one of the guys was walking near the building wall, so I decided to walk in between two of them. I made my usual quick eye contact, since that always seemed to be a good idea to acknowledge others' presence. Everything seemed nice and normal to me.


I felt a huge pain to the side of my head. The next thing I remember, I'm on the ground basically lying on my bag. While I didn't see the punch, I immediately thought that was the only thing that would have caused the first two experiences, as well as the throbbing on the left side of my face above the jaw.

I was still a little groggy as I got to my feet. As I did, I saw the blobs that I saw that the three fuckers (sorry kids for the language, but this is the real world at this points) walk around the corner.

And then I stood there confused. Very confused. What had just happened? From where they were, I figured that I had been unconscious for 5-10 seconds and about the same to shake off the cobwebs. So only 10-20 seconds had passed and they were only going around the corner 40-50 feet behind me. That meant they weren't running away, or spent any time looming over me, or anything. They just kept walking.

I didn't say a word to them. I didn't recognize any of them, not that I got a good look at any of the three, so I'm presuming they didn't recognize me. They didn't say anything to me, at least while I was conscious. They didn't hit me a second time. They didn't take anything. They just kept walking.

So now the fight or flight instincts start doing neither. I was in shock, I imagine due in part to the pain, part to the sheer incredulity. They weren't robbing me. They weren't threatening me. They weren't provoked. They were just walking on by.

Part of why they didn't seem to be in a hurry was because there wasn't apparently a need. No one else was on the street. I had been looking at the other side of the street and no one was there. No one was behind and only a woman was passing in either direction on Haight and she was certainly past the intersection by the time I was hit. I was smaller than all three of them, so I wasn't an immediate physical threat, especially considering their numerical superiority.

I just stood there for about a minute. After spitting out some blood, I decided that there wasn't a significant immediate threat if I decided to try to follow them on Haight, seeing the general amount of business and foot traffic (ignoring the lack thereof before). But by the time I walked down the end of the block, I didn't see them at all.

At this point, I just wanted to get home and survey the damage. Along the way, I noticed two recently broken beer bottles on the sidewalk, so I figured they had been drinking some (or a lot), which may have led to the sort of lack of inhibition where hitting some schmuck on the street might have made some sense.

But to me, I can't even fathom it. I've caused property damage in the past, but inanimate objects are different than human beings. While I've certainly had thoughts about hurting specific people, I had (at least in my mind) some level of provocation. But I'd never gone through with it. I've only started a fight once in junior high school, which last all of two punches, and all the other times I had been engaged first before I fought back.

I walked the couple other blocks back up to my place and went directly for the icepack. The left side of face was definitely swollen, but all the lacerations were on the inside of my mouth. At this point I was done spitting blood out, but I could stull taste it. I took a look in the mirror and saw the Jason-munk. (Sorry, no pictures. Didn't think about it that night.) Checked all the teeth and they all seemed to be in place and secure. Moved the jaw around and while it was sore, it didn't feel damaged outside of the soft tissue damage. I had a headache, but duh, I just got hit in the head; I was going to have a headache.

Now what? Well, the obvious answer would be to call the police. But I didn't. I didn't hardly see them, as I was paying more attention to the non-commotion across the street and then their movement to get a good look at their faces. There weren't any witnesses. For my own situation, it was a he-said, he-said. If they were even more stupid and did something else that night or even later, I wouldn't have been able to add to their prosecution at all. There was no property to trace. There was no motive. That's part of the shock; it really was a random act of senseless violence.

All reporting would have done would have been to waste my time and waste the police's time. To the extent there was no permanent damage and no property loss, all that would be in it for me would be retribution. But I can't help with punishing them.

So my sore cheek and I went over the couch, gave Carla a call, had a little dinner, watched some TV and went to bed.

Woke up in the morning to a worse headache than I had the night before and some problems focusing my eyes when I would move my head to a new direction and target. I also had a general slowness to my actions, a slight fog to everything that was happening around me. I had been reading about concussions because of my loss of consciousness, but they said that a minute or more, or fuzzy vision were the concerning factors. I didn't the fuzziness of either type that night (although what I was attributing to exhaustion may have been the slowness). Now that I was having three of the symptoms, I figured a trip to the emergency room would be in order. Carla was going to come over anyway, so I waited for her to come and give me a ride over to Kaiser on Geary. (CPMC's emergency room is closed on the weekends, as I learned after the cat food can attacked me back in the middle of my Emergency Room Tour of 2001, so Kaiser is the next best spot.)

A two hour visit and three hundred-something dollars (which I'll have to get my new fangled HSA plan to take care of, woo hoo!) later, the Kaiser doctor (nice, competent, sense of humor, nothing to complain about) came to the same conclusion I might have if I wasn't as foggy; I had a mild concussion. I would just need to take it easy the next few days and keep away from right crosses.

I was happy with the suggestion to take it easy; if I read more than a couple pages, I needed to take a break. Carla was nice enough to take me grocery shopping, since I was anticipating her staying over. But her new sickness was getting worse, so we decided to regroup over at her place after I took a break at home. We watched a couple movies, wallowed in our collective misery 8-), and we packed it in.

Some of the randomness... if I had been 30 seconds later, our paths would have crossed on Haight and the likelihood they would have gotten away unnoticed would have been far lower. More than that, I wouldn't have even encountered them. If I had been 2 minutes earlier, I would have been inside my door at home. If I had taken the 21 Hayes home as the trip planner had suggested, I would have come from a completely different direction. If time had been skewed by a half an hour, I would have been going over to Rosamunde to get that sausage. If I had not come up with another thought about our spreadsheet, I would have been home at least 20 minutes earlier.

But as my dad would say, if I had green eggs, I could have green eggs and ham, if I had ham. All the ifs don't mean a damn thing. It is what it is. A perfect confluence of events led me to the situation.

And now, life goes on...

update (2005/01/10)

See the main entry.

update (2005/01/11)

See the main entry.

update (2005/01/12)

Definitely felt better today than I felt on Monday. A little bit of a headache, but other than that fine. Worked a six hour day, coming in late as I let my body tell me when to wake up rather than setting an alarm. It definitely wasn't as stressful as Monday, so I didn't regress during the day at all. But I was tired at the end of it, so I'm glad I slept in an left early.

update (2005/01/13)

No headache this morning, took some ibuprofen anyway, no headache during the day at all. Still a little tired after 7 hours, but feeling pretty good about myself.

update (2005/01/14)

No headache this morning, didn't take any ibuprofen today, no headache during the day at all. A seven hour day, but I got there before 10:00a, so I'm heading back to normal. I think given a pretty calm weekend, I should be back to my normal self by Tuesday.

update (2005/01/18)

Pretty stressful day at work today. Felt completely normal. I think we're done here.

who knows what goes here?

On this chunk, there will probably be links to all the (periodical) media that I normally consume to get the info that I regurgitate to put here, outside of the occasional original thought. Stuff like websites, newsletters, magazines, television, radio, the occasional newspaper, the (currently less occasional) newspaper, or whatever else regular jumble of bits happen to float through my head. This is so I can conform to Standard Blogging Format. But this isn't going to scale to other chunks of the site, so this might not be elsewhere.

Does it validate? Who knows?

Is this at the bottom? If it is (when there's enough stuff in the center column...), this is where my copyright, colophon, badge list, privacy, and any other fine print that you should read will go. For now, it's all... copyright Jason Untulis 1997-2005. So there.