Bryan is a first year student in the MA in Urban Studies program with a concentration in Community Development. Read more of his thoughts at his blog, Bryan and Christin, at http://loverochester.blogspot.com/.
It was a dark, rainy, Thursday morning. I had just crossed the street to change buses and I was thinking how pretty the rain looked on this particular morning as it hit the pavement on Main Street. Suddenly, pain and confusion overcame me and my hands immediately went up to cover my face where something had unexpectedly just come into extreme contact with it. Dazed, I slowly pieced together what had just happened. The bus previous to mine pulled up and the driver immediately got out to be sure I was OK. She had witnessed a man sneaking up behind me, punching me in the eye, and then running away. I recall being happy at her recounting of the story as I thought I must have imagined it. Her act of kindness and compassion immediately squashed my feelings of isolation and vulnerability.
I slowly developed an enormous and somewhat hideous black eye. The worst part of it all to me was the process of being forced to repeat the story what seemed like an infinite amount of times. Why would I want to perpetuate what is already a negative attitude towards my city? Many people glared at me with an, “I told you so” look on their faces as I did my best to tell the story of the kind bus driver vs. the story of the gentleman who assaulted me. I wished I had gotten a better look at him, I wished I was able to understand what his motives were, and I wished he had taken the time to explain himself or even look at me. Many assumptions were made. “Just another crazy guy.” “He must be in a gang.” “You must have looked like his dealer.” -And the list goes on and on. None would prove to be true.
To be continued. . .