Friday, March 2, 2012

Close Encounters with a Bamboo Stick

While out and about today, Berkley was whacked on the head with a bamboo stick by a crazy old woman. Yes, you read that right: whacked on the head. The incident occurred after we went out to get some sporting goods in a neighborhood just west of ours. As we were walking home, I noticed that an older woman stopped in her tracks when she saw us walk by (and that was just Doug, Quin and me as Berkley was a bit farther back, so it wasn’t a blond hair thing). She then started following us; I was a bit nervous, but I thought that maybe I was overreacting. As we walked along about 10 feet in front of her, she apparently threw one of her sticks (maybe at us?), but I only saw the tail end as she yelled at someone who tried to pick it up - I thought maybe she had dropped it, and that's why she turned back. At one point, she pointed her stick at Quin and yelled at him, but he didn’t say anything to us about it at the time; in hindsight, I wish he had. So, when we walked by an interesting shop selling souvenirs, I told Berkley we weren’t going in as I wanted to get away from this old lady. But I didn’t communicate my concerns clearly to Berkley (as I thought perhaps I was being paranoid, and I didn’t want to overly concern him), and I didn’t notice when he stopped to peek in the store.

The next thing I know, he’s BAWLING and running towards us and away from her. He caught up to us, at which point Doug exclaimed that the woman had hit him on the head – hard. Luckily, the bamboo had been split into quarters, so it wasn’t as hard as it could have been, but still – it left a lump on his head. About a half dozen or so Chinese people stopped and started rapidly talking to us as they had witnessed what occurred. Of course, we couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but a few of them pointed a finger at their heads and circled it around (apparently that’s the universal signal for crazy). There wasn’t much we could do at this point except glare at the culprit (who was still standing there staring at us) and move on.

Now, this woman apparently wasn’t right in the head (although who knows - maybe that's just what they said to excuse her behavior), but the thing that clearly set her off about us was the fact that we were white. Not that she told us that, but we were pretty much the only other white people in the area, and there were plenty of other families and kids there. In the past, I’ve mused about racial identity, but it was really pretty shocking to have it literally hit home this way. Don’t get me wrong though – while we may be the subject of a great many stares here, I haven’t ever really felt like we were in any sort of danger because of it. This is the first time it’s really been an issue. Despite the fact that we’re generally pretty safe here, moving forward, I’m going to pay far closer attention to that voice in my head that warns me when the focus becomes too intense – something I didn’t do today.


  1. I don't think you were the only one with a voice in your head.

  2. Poor Berkley - thats not what he expected as most of them were kinder, gentler people. Our hearts go out to him - hope he doesnt have too much pain. Love - Mom and Dad

  3. How sad that this happened to our out-going little boy. He is so open to everyone he meets. I hope he doesn't lose that. Some wounds heal faster than others. We're sending hugs to him. Dad and Judy