Serena J. Cavanaugh :: Blog

October 28, 2009

Strange and Unusual: Cat Fight!

Filed under: Cultural Rants — Tags: , , , — serena @ 10:29 pm

catfight450.jpg cat fight image by zboytony

It wasn’t one of those things on my bucket list, but today I got in a cat fight with a complete stranger.


Sparky, my apparently spoiled rotten poodle, was the problem. I take him for a walk with my sister and we decide to stop by the Redwood City Whole Foods. Of course, wherever food is sold, Sparky can’t go. So I tie him up outside, tell him to wait, and head into the store.


The little bugger thinks I’ve abandoned him and starts expressing his sorrow in a series of loud yelps, howls and general mayhem.


“Holy crap!” says I. “The little poodle is being a punk!” I run through the store in search of green lentils and race to the cashier. The dog has paused, largely because someone is petting him. But as soon as that person steps away the ruckus begins again.


The cashier, who obviously doesn’t know I’m the reason for all the drama outside, decides to have an at length conversation with the customer before me about some supplement. I finally get through and run out to the dog.


Then someone inside says, “You should have left him in the car.”


Thinking nothing of it, I simply turn around. Standing very prim and proper is a relatively well dressed uglier version of Sarah Jessica Parker. Yeah, I didn’t know either.


I chuckle, kinda sheepishly. “I know, but we walked.”


“Then you should have left him at home… where he belongs.”


“But how could I walk him if he’s at home?” I ask. “Are you serious?”


“The dog belongs at home. I would suggest you educate yourself on how to take care of dogs.”


At this point, I’m irritated and distinctly remember telling myself to walk away. And then I distinctly answered myself: no way, not this time.


Why? Why didn’t I walk away? I have the world’s most oily back – as in almost everything slides right off it. But not this time. Oh no. The time I share words with a crazy woman is the time that I choose to take a stand.


I walk back into the store. Sparky, miraculously doesn’t howl this time. I’m asking her how she can judge me when she doesn’t know me. She’s saying I obviously starve and neglect my dog. I’m asking if she even has a dog. She’s saying I shouldn’t have one. She’s telling me to log onto some ASPCA site to educate myself on proper dog care. I’m telling her to f— off.


Finally, I walk away.


But the woman follows me. Outside, she continues.


Mind you, she is perfectly calm, collected, and opinionated. In fact, she is giving me little snide grins every time she tells me I shouldn’t own a dog.


I, on the other hand, am red in the face, raising my voice, and swearing. The F-Bomb is flying all over the place.


She spins around on her very nice high heeled boots and starts walking away after tossing one more insult my way.


What do I do? Well I toss my cup of coffee, of course.


Not at her so much as toward her. And although my aim is true – it doesn’t hit her — the coffee – and it was just a little bit – manages to splatter her very nice pleather jacket.


Oh, now she tells me she works at a law office. Great. That might explain the self righteous attitude.


Now she’s in my face, trying to take my photo with her phone, cornering me against the post, screaming about how I’m going to buy her a new coat.


I start walking. She follows. And calls the police while informing me that I’m illegally leaving the scene of the crime.


I offer to get her coat cleaned. “Here’s my phone number,” I say and hand her a receipt with my number. No. I tell her she can give it to the police. No. I ask if I can leave the police my information. No. She won’t have it. “Fine. Then we’re walking, you can follow us.”


We got a block down the street.


Well, she follows us, all right. She comes running. Little high heel pattering sounds behind us.


She steps in front of the stroller, reaches over it, knocks it about regardless of the baby, grabs me, and shoves her phone in my face to take a picture of me!


Now, usually I like getting my picture taken. And today I happened to have makeup on and a nice hairdo. So, normally, I would have smiled, chin down. But… well she was, to put it lightly, totally invading my private space.


I grab her by the shirt and sock her.


And then I don’t remember much else, besides the dog barking a lot. Good thing he didn’t bite her. Next thing I know, I have her by the shirt with both hands and she is demanding over and over that I let her go or she’s going to clobber me. No, she said clock. Which I thought was a rather dated way of putting it.


I stop to think about why I can’t seem to let go and realize, hey, she’s holding my hands. In a death grip. When I inform her of this, she lets go, I let go. Much simpler than our previous interactions.


Then my eye starts burning. Because she clawed me. Didn’t realize that. Some lady pulls over and starts giving us hell for fighting when there’s a baby. I feel pretty darn chagrined.


The Sarah Jessica Parker lady, however, is more concerned about her coat and her phone, both very expensive items by the way, that I will be replacing, or so she informs me.  “Good thing you didn’t break my necklace… wait, where’s my necklace? My necklace! Oh my God! Oh my God! My necklace! That was from Tiffany’s!”


Then the waterworks. Tears, hysteria, sobs to heaven. I have never seen anything like it.


Of course, I’d be paying for that too, she was sure to say. Turns out it only cost a couple hundred dollars. I guess Tiffany’s makes cheap stuff too.


The police came, took our reports, took pictures of my face, lectured me about throwing coffee and letting snide remarks get to me, helped her find her necklace and went their way after sharing a chuckle or two.


Because that lady was the kind of a person that you really can’t sympathize with.


A couple hours later, I start feeling whoozie and actually ill. My head hurts, my eyes feel heavy. I really want to go to sleep. This is adrenaline withdrawals. I had no idea that happens. But I’ve never been in a fist fight, so how would I have known?


Then my jaw starts aching so much I can’t open my mouth. Then my neck hurts. Even my throat is soar and I know it ain’t the flu. Been there, done that.


Well, she either “clocked” me at some point, or I ground my teeth so hard I pulled every muscle on the left side of my face.


My fourteen year old looked very smug when he said, “Mom, you shouldn’t engage with people like that.”


My age old advice – what I say about those with road rage, the ruthlessly opinionated, the hecklers – the advice I so blithely ignored today.


Now, jacked up on loads of advil to take down the swelling in my face and to ease the pain, I’m still feeling pretty bad about losing my very good cup of coffee, not to mention my temper…. But this coffee was from The Grind. It’s expensive and yummy, and hand dripped and fresh ground… from Brazil, this time.


Consequences, consequences… lose your temper, lose your coffee, or break your necklace.


  1. I still can’t believe you threw the coffee!

    Comment by Stephanie — October 28, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

  2. OMFG, Serena. You seem like such a sweet, kind woman. Who knew? Seriously, good for you. I swear I wish I had punched a number of self-righteous, judgmental idiots who believe they know everything. You are now officially my heroine.

    Comment by Laurie Sontag — October 29, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  3. you never fail to amaze me. Coffee and all. Hope this whole thing turns out okay! over a dog no less!! i love the little pooch and all but really. who was the baby? Not steph’s little one, but you! now your in for it. good luck with this one and remember my father in law is an attorney!

    Comment by sarah — October 29, 2009 @ 11:31 am

  4. Laurie, I swear, I am a sweet, kind woman. But I guess underneath it all is a raging maniac… when it comes to my dogs, of all things. All my life I have wished that I had the gumption to stand up for myself in situations like this, but to tell you the truth, it doesn’t feel any better to have punched the B-word, than it does to have taken it. In fact, with all the bruising and soarness, I think I might feel worse.

    Comment by serena — October 30, 2009 @ 10:51 am

  5. I love the little pooch too. ANd for someone to accuse me of neglecting and starving him! He’s a poodle! He’s supposed to be skinny, you fool. I did a little online research and it turns out she has cats! Go figure! No wonder she wanted me to leave my pet at home. She’s a CAT PERSON people!

    Comment by serena — October 30, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  6. I’m so proud of you Serena. I knew you could be stubborn but I did not think you were capable of violence rather than a little love slap. This lady obviously deserved what she got. Some people don’t know that when you cross a line, the response may not be verbal but physical. Some people try to provoke you into hitting them so they can pull all sorts of crap on you, which I believe you will be feeling in the future. The police will laugh this off. Any reasonable judge would laugh this out of court. What you engaged in was mutual combat since she came at you. Be sure to claim that her approach threatened you and you felt that you had to defend yourself from an imminent attack.

    Comment by Rob Shreve — November 11, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  7. hey Serena: I Googled your name and found this. WHAT A LAUGH!!
    see you around

    Comment by rose — April 27, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  8. Did I send my comment to you? I hate computer stuff. Don’t publish this one if you got the other one. If not, I Googled you and found this article. You are really a funny lady. Good writing too.
    See you around

    Comment by rose — April 27, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

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