Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ma'am, That Hurts!

I've come to accept that some really bizarre things happen to me in Brussels. I don't understand how or why strange things find me, they just do. I'm pretty much beyond fighting it. Some things are simply outside the locus of my control, and, apparently, all things Belgian fall within this camp. But, I do have my limits, and I absolutely draw the line at old ladies beating me with their canes. It's rude. It hurts. It's assault and battery.

Yesterday, I was walking home from shopping on Rue Blaes, carrying a large shopping bag in my left hand, when I came upon this little old lady walking two small white dogs. In her left hand, she had one of those retractable leashes, restraining Thing One. In her right hand, she had an identical leash, attached to Thing Two, and a black walking cane. (Operative word being "cane.")

Initially, I was impressed that she could walk two dogs with a cane and not have everything get tangled together. Now, I just wish her dead.

As I was passing the Lady and the Things, Thing One decided to run in front of me to pee on the building to my right. Fortunately for him, he had enough leash to pull it off. Unfortunately for me, he had enough leash to pull it off. I was clotheslined just below my knees. I stopped, abruptly, and put my right hand on the wall of the building to prevent myself from falling forward. I started to back up, just about the time that Thing Two made a mad dash at the building. Thing Two's leash is now hitting me just below the back of my knees.

The Lady then started yelling at the Things, and, to their credit, the Things tried to return to her side. The downside for me was that they used opposite routes from which they came. Thing One went behind me and Thing Two went in front of me. I looked down and saw a tangled mess of retractable dog leashes, white yapping fur, and the toes of my black motorcycle boots. ("Motorcycle boots" being the operative words in that sentence.)

Call it intuition. Call it reading context-clues. Call it experience. But I knew, knew, that somehow it was going to go from bad to worse. Since my hands were otherwise occupied -- one holding on to the building and the other holding my shopping bag -- I tried to untangle myself by lifting my leg over one of the leashes. Bad move on my part. Real bad.

The Lady interpreted my high-step to be an attempt to drop-kick one of the Things, which I would have done had I known at the time that they were the spawn of Satan, and she began beating me about the knees and ankles with her cane. (I'm convinced the Lady bought her Geritol at Balco, because Granny Bonds had a helluva follow-through!). The Things must have thought this was some sort of game, because they kept jumping up and down and trying to grab the end of the cane. Trust me, it was no game.

I'm yelling at her in English, she's swinging her cane at me and screaming in French, the dogs are yelping and/or barking, depending on the placement of my boot, tourists are taking photos. Sheer chaos.

For a moment, I had this insane urge to yell, "Release the Hounds." But, I quickly learned that there is an inverse relationship in my brain between the part that regulates my sense of humor and the part that holds all the pain receptors. More pain, less funny. Shearing shin pain -- not funny at all!

I would like to think that she dropped the leash to help me untangle myself from the cluster, but I know, know, that she was just trying to get a better grip on her lethal death stick. Once she let go of one of the leashes, I was able to high-step my way out of the leashes, with only an occasional bootfull of white fur.

The tourists had dispersed, taking their award-winning footage with them. There was not a police officer in sight. My pride, not to mention my aching ankles, prevented me from walking to the station and filing a report. Besides, "an old lady beat me with a stick," does not exactly evoke the kind of sympathy that was warranted under the circumstances. So, I limped back home, entertaining thoughts of the old lady being arrested, traded for a pack of smokes, and turned into some big lady's bitch.

© 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Blogger woman wandering said...

I have to tell my Istanbul friends about your site ... I am beginning to feel that I have cast off the 'things just happen to me' aspect of my life.

I don't know what to say ... everytime I read you, I end up being torn between laughter and sympathy.

Take care.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...


How does one go about "casting" it away? I'm at the point where I am ready to burn some bacon, light a couple sticks of incense, and shake some sage to rid myself of this bad mojo!


3:16 PM  
Blogger woman wandering said...

Noooo, you can't cast it away unless you can guarantee that you don't cast it back my way. Some strange things happened to me over in Istanbul ... I'm enjoying relative calm these Antwerpen days.

God you write well ... you have me giggling everytime. And I have smirking flashbacks at inappropriate moments ... the other day, when I passed an old man with a dog - although he seemed so old that an offer to stroke him would have been unlikely, and an oddly dressed rotund woman lurched towards me on the tram yesterday.
So far, so good though.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Attacked by three bitches on a Brussels street. Wouldn't you have loved to have tied the Big Bitch up with the little bitches' leashes and tossed her cane into a sewer.

Thank God for the motorcycle boots. We're going to have to get you some black leather and chains and butch you up. Of course, that might just ATTRACT more of the wrong kind of people.

We should surf the Web and see if you appeared on someone else's blog. What a story! What a photo opp! You're becoming a legend in the expat community.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...


For the record, if I show up on Belgium's Funniest Home Videos, I want my cut of the prize money!


10:11 AM  
Anonymous Rod said...

Cindy, roughly 20 days since your last post. I am sure that something has had to have happened. What is up?

6:34 PM  

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