Swearing instead of Physical Violence… is this Good?

Is swearing a good alternative to violence?Swearing can be a useful substitute to physical violence, although I found it quite disturbing.

My flight from Charlotte to Austin was slightly nerve-racking, but thankfully uneventful. Connor, a six-year-old boy entertained himself by banging on the seat in front of him, unfortunately, it was my seat. Even though it was annoying, I understood how difficult it can be traveling with small children. The mother was calm, and the father acted as if he didn’t know who the little boy belonged. There was no swearing to be heard and they restrained themselves from physical violence. Who knows what they were really thinking?

The lady sitting next to me was abundantly healthy and took up every inch of the middle seat. I couldn’t help but notice her whiskers, but I didn’t want to stare. There’s nothing wrong with whiskers, my dad has a very heavy beard, which he shaves daily. Well enough about whiskers. (Try saying whiskers 10 times fast, it’s weird.) Did you swear afterwards or become physically violent?

The hotel was not what I expected, but it was exceptionally clean. I couldn’t understand why they put me in a handicap room. I can’t remember if I was secretly swearing in my mind, but I was not physically violent.

It was only 4 pm, and I thought it would be a good idea to stretch my legs and walk through the town of Austin. Strolling along South Congress Avenue, I realized it would be nearly impossible to become dehydrated, the street was lined with bars, only I was looking for boots! (Timing is everything.) The sound of sirens was not uncommon, yet I didn’t observe any physical violence, only echoes of swearing as I passed people along the sidewalk.

By the time, I walked back towards the hotel, I was feeling a bit hungry. Tex-Mex food sounded like a great idea and the establishment appeared to be upscale. (I’m kind of a snob.) Sitting alone at the bar is strange. Do I pretend I’m watching something I have no clue about on TV, or do I people watch? Perhaps I strike up a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me, even though he appeared 30 years younger than me. (Turns out he was exactly 30 years younger than me.) He was very cute and could have been my own child. (What has this world come to?)

The two men and woman sitting to my left were enjoying some colorful drinks, tortilla chips and guacamole. It looked as if they had come from work, and I suspected they met here often. One of the men suggested his favorite dish for me to order. I was beginning to feel more relaxed, sipping my wine, and dipping my chips.

Then it happened. Mr. Millennial sits next to me. (Nothing against millennial’s.) He politely warned me, he had a difficult day and was going to express his frustration.

Express his frustration? What did that mean? Was he going to become physically violent towards me? This young man chose (rhymes with duck) as his designated descriptive word for everything.  He said he wanted to punch his boss, because his boss was stupid. (Does that sound smart?) Mr. Swear mouth was not getting the recognition he felt he deserved, nor the salary. Mr. Swear mouth continued to swear, as he was becoming extremely vulgar with no respect, regard or concern for anyone around him. (Who raised this kid?)

There was seemingly no effort in using optional adjectives. The idea of losing my Tex-Mex meal all over the bar was not an attractive look for me, I asked for my check and got the ____out of there! This was the first time I left a restaurant with food on my plate and wine in my glass. (Well I do remember doing that one other time, when I was furious at my kids…but I did return.) But this time I did not return, and thought it best to leave the situation, before I punched him!

Riding the elevator up to my room could have become physically violent.

As one man steps in the elevator, balancing stacks of beers in his arms, his drunk friends jump in behind him. Now I find myself in an elevator clearly with two drunk men and one man on his way. One highly intoxicated man begs his friend for beer. Then he begins to proposition his friend, (what a deal) and if that’s not enough to witness, he starts acting strangely promiscuous while swearing and smiling at me! He starts asking me if I like him! (OMG, what gave it away?) The elevator is becoming very small, as I consider what I will do if I am touched. I am not a violent person, but I suppose there could be a place and a time.

As I reflect on my trip, and the snippets of broken humanity, I am glad to be home. The air is clean, and I can control the words filling my space. Freedom of speech is a privilege, but it can also violate peacefulness.

Prison had pockets of vulgarity and sounds of swearing, but I was lucky to live in a range where swearing was not permitted. Sometimes my walls in prison were more peaceful than public upscale restaurant’s! We learned to tame our tongues and practice mindfulness, something I see less often since returning.

Do you think it’s beneficial for people to substitute swearing for physical violence? Physical violence is not the answer. Swearing may have harmful consequences, but is it the best alternative to hurting someone physically? What do you think?




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