Okay, I try to be open-minded about psychological differences. But today something happened that got me thinking.
I had an hour to kill and it was sunny and warm in Toronto, so I thought I’d walk up Avenue Road, north of Lawrence Ave.
Earlier this week someone had mailed a letter to our place with the wrong address. So with my RETURN TO SENDER envelope in hand, I scanned the far corner of the intersection, looking for a mailbox.
Suddenly I heard this British sounding lady cursing me violently. Although she wore nice clothes, the words she used were anything but nice.
“You f****** Canadian! You dirty trash… you’re ugly…” she said angrily, staring right at me.
Taken aback, I met her violent gaze for an instant and then, out of fear, kept on walking without saying a word. She then said something about “… Jew” that didn’t sound very nice. (For the record, I’m a Christian but was near a somewhat Jewish area.)
Now, the reason I mention the letter and my looking for a mailbox is to underscore the fact that I didn’t take note of this lady before she began her abusive rant. I only noticed her after she started hollering at me.
If by chance I’d looked at her first and thought an unfair thought about her, then maybe I could have supposed that she was some kind of mind-reader, had picked up my bad thought, and was ticked off about it.
If that were the case, then I’d probably have been humbled. But again, I never saw this lady and had zero bad thoughts when she lit into me. I was actually quite happy, thinking nice thoughts while heading out for my walk in the sunshine.
So what happened?
Did she have a fight with her Canadian husband? Or maybe her Canadian son-in-law upset her this morning, and she was venting to innocent me. Who knows…
Those two possibilities represent one kind of explanation.
Another possibility is that she heard voices and assumed she was reading my mind. This might sound a little nuts but I suspect it does happen with some people. Whether or not these voices are generated by the brain or the devil remains a mystery that I don’t think psychiatry can solve.
So either this lady was irresponsibly abusive, or she was just out of her mind. It’s hard to know. But if a cop were around, I probably would have reported her.
I was genuinely afraid for a moment. And that was one moment too long.