I've never lost a fight.
In my life, I've had maybe 7 physical altercations and every time, no matter the odds, whether they were bigger, stronger, faster, or more numerous I've been lucky and come out on top each time.
I hate fighting.
In my life, whether because of school or what I do for a living or my temperament, I've made a point to avoid as many physical altercations as possible. If I can help it, I try to diffuse situations with my mind. Through clever wordplay, humor, or in extreme cases breaking someone down verbally, those are my tools.
I've never felt powerless in a negative situation.
I don't allow myself to feel like I couldn't do anything. If there is a problem facing me and I don't react immediately, it's because I understand there are more factors at play that will allow me to come out on top in the long run. Taking no action in the moment isn't a sign of weakness, it a calculated measure of restraint because I know I'll have a better chance to rectify the issue.
Yesterday, I felt powerless in a negative situation.
Two men came in to my bar. One had a scheduled job interview with our general manager. Upon hearing the GM had already left, one went to the bathroom, the other went to look in the music room; it's the main attraction of my workplace. The kitchen manager was in the back on his phone doing inventory and heard someone messing with bottles behind the bar. He walked to the front of the venue where is was working and told me they were stealing alcohol.
The two men went to the bathroom to try and zip up the book bag they had with them. I asked my kitchen manager to come with me, but he never got off his phone. Never stopped doing inventory. So I entered the bathroom alone.
"Would you kindly open the bag?"
"It's not my bag."
"In that case leave the bag where it is so we can figure out who left it last night?"
"It's my friend's bag."
"Then would your friend mind if I searched the bag?"
The friend proceeds to open the two smallest zippers of the book bag. I just look at him. He stars to sweat. He's not a fighter; this wasn't his idea. I could beat him easily, but the other guy would be an issue. He was much bigger which didn't intimidate me. He looked slow, but speed wouldn't help me 2 on 1 in a cramped bathroom. I'd have to talk my way out.
"I know you have bottles in there. You have 2 choices. Either you can leave the bottles behind and go on your way or you can try to run with them. Just remember the police station is across the street and I anticipate being much faster than you especially with the alcohol weighing one of you down."
The smaller one starts to open his mouth to respond, but the bigger one speak up instead.
"What about option 3, where I just go through you."
"I figured you'd say that which is why I want to remind you that your initial reason for being here is a job interview you applied for and scheduled. I have your name, number, address, and references."
He clenches his fist, shoves me and urges his friend to leave. They run out the door. It's fine by me; non action in this case preserves the wellbeing of myself, my kitchen manager, and my marketing manager who smartly went quiet as soon as she realized the situation. I'll get them in the end.
Except I won't. The general manager was "too busy" yesterday to actual give the man an application. He never even introduced himself or asked the man's name. He told him to just show up around noon; most staff wouldn't be in yet, but they could sit and talk.
So I have nothing. No name. No address. No phone number. Nothing. No one thought to call the police while I was in the bathroom and when we talked to them later the only description we could give was two black males, roughly 5'10- 6'0 tall, short cut hair. Maybe one of the most useless descriptions living in Atlanta.
I keep telling myself I did the right thing; the smart thing, but how could I let someone disrespect me in my own house? How can I make my staff feel safe again. I know I t wasn't a fight I could win, but what if I had at least tried. There's a chance I'd be seriously injured or worse, but at least I could say I did something. Now all I can do is go back over the whole scenario and find out where it went wrong: what could I have done. I felt... I feel useless. It's like I'm battling my own psyche and I'm losing.
I've never lost a fight, but I'm currently losing one right now and I don't know how to win.