I walked out, head down and thoughtful. Ms. Robin had been...genuinely kind. And, knowing that she was, pieces started to fall into place. She hadn't punished them as hard because she knew me, and given equal information, had to punish equally. She wasn't indifferent, just unsure.
Never attribute to indifference that which can adequately be explained by incomprehension, I thought to myself.
Nina and I had gotten off with promises not to do it again--which I noted were carefully worded to mean never do it again within a supervisor's view--and exchanged, "I'm sorry, Nina," "I'm sorry, Joanna".
I thought. Ms. Robin had been kind, considerate, respectful, and if not smart, at least willing to learn. If I could do the same in return, I should. So. How do physical and verbal fights differ, in my mind?
Well, in the most basic terms, verbal fights have a wider range they can appear to be without being. If I call you an idiot and that's your one button, then that suddenly throws the fight up a few notches--in the other person's mind. I still think we're playing around. In a fight, if I pull a knife on you, you and I can both pretty clearly see, Holy shit, she just pulled a knife.
On the other hand, it isn't that physical fights are completely clear. You hit a sore spot on me, I go into defense mode. You might have no idea you just did, but I have. And one person might think you can still play around when you pull a knife, while I would think Weaponry involved, this is now life or death.
But physical fighting is still clearer. I need to know you inside and out to make sure I don't kick up a verbal fight. A physical fight, I can probably see when I've crossed that line. Stay off eyes, ears, throat, and broken bones; no weapons; fight is over when someone hits the ground unless you want a kill. I have never been in a fight with anyone but a few girls I know, and even I know that. I know it might be different, but I think that'd be true anywhere at my school. Whereas say, Anne might laugh off "idiot" and Sarah-Jane would ruin my reputation.
But I could see where she was coming from. If a verbal fight goes too far, then, in theory, both parties can talk frankly and solve the problem with few to no emotional scars. In a physical fight, everything is instant-by-instant. If I think someone's going after me, seriously trying to hurt me, I react with that in mind. And if I make a decision in that moment, there's no taking it back.
I understand. But the problem with that view is, that doesn't actually happen. If I get into an argument, then we're not going to talk frankly. If we fight, then I'm not going to hurt her, she's not going to hurt me.
But is that because I am a normal person, or is that because I am myself?
I turn it over in my head and decide that I probably can keep it to words. My main problem is that I can't stand to lose. If I have set apologizing as the lose condition, then I cannot apologize without losing. But there is no reason for that to be the lose condition. And...
I took a deep breath and said this aloud.
"There is no reason for losing to be a bad thing."
I took a few deep breaths. It was true. I knew it was true. The problem was convincing myself that it was true.
Logic. Losing a battle is not losing the war. There are times when losing now helps achieve a greater goal in the future. Sacrificing one's self for a random idea was a bad choice. But sacrificing pride for a solid goal was a good thing, so long as the goal was.
Emotion. Losing is losing. If I go into a true argument, I have to go in willing to lose on my field of choice.
And that was it. I had many logical reasons to think physical fighting had it's place, but that wasn't why I chose it. If I lost in a physical fight, then I came out unharmed. Maybe scraped and sore, but not dead, not crippled, almost always not even permanently scarred. And in a verbal fight I would also almost certainly avoid any emotional scars, due to the same environment that kept me safe from the physical ones.
But if I lost in a verbal fight, then I had to accept that I was wrong. None of this, Yeah, you won, but I could have! because being the better fighter doesn't matter to me. So if I stay out of fighting intellectually, I stay out of fighting where I care.
I started walking again, and looked up at the sky. It was a deep blue, Easter egg left in the sky blue cup for a half hour and still dripping. Not a cloud, and sun, for the moment, behind a building. All perfect, clear blue.
Ms. Robin's line in mind, I said, "I didn't think."