Saturday, March 07, 2009


I arrived at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) by 6 am and was at the benching next to the breed ring by 6.30. I parked myself and my dogs and stuff. In common with the others who had arrived early, I parked at the end of the benches, not in a bench. This is much easier for those of us who find movement more cumbersome.

At about 9am I came back from a visit to the loo, to find my bag and chair, and other belongings thrown out into the middle of the walkway and someone else's stuff put in it's place. I moved that out of the way, put my stuff back , sat down, and proceeded to knit.

Very shortly, an elderly woman was screaming abuse at me. She wanted to be where I was and thought I had no right to be there. Presumably this woman thought she owned the space. I was perplexed, really, because I was astounded that she was being so vicious. really, the venom from her had to be witnessed. This was not just a woman put out, you'd think she was confronting an object of extreme hatred to her. She was soon joined in this attack by another woman and her husband.. I assume one was her child and the other the child's spouse. This is when it really got frightening. They too laid into me with a great deal of venom. This is what I found so shocking, the force of this attack. Like I had at one time caused her family great pain. The man especially became crazily abusive, shouting that I was handbag thief and all sorts. They hemmed me in so I couldn't move, not that I was intending to, and he looked as if he was about to physically attack me. Then he noticed my sticks and thought better of it. Not I am sure because he wouldn't hit a handicapped person but because he was afraid I'd use the sticks on him.

Whilst this was going on, I was taking it in but not feeling a thing. I disassociated. I didn't move, another thing I do, freeze.

Those who know me could see something was wrong because of my face I presume. I was also mentally vague as I was feeling really not present at this point. Anyway, my friends and even those I had only a passing acquaintance with, rallied round and my dogs and stuff were not left alone for the rest of the day.

The dogs were my major concern. Something the woman said, which seemed not to fit her gripe, made me wonder later if all this transpired because of jealousy of my success with Whitney. A photograph of her and me stating her Top Puppy 2008 status and Junior Warrant had appeared in the dog press that day and two weeks previously.

As much as I tried to not let his affect my day, it did. Even now the scene keeps flashing back into my consciousness. You'd think with my experience in life I would not be shocked by people's behaviour. I am. This caused feelings in me that I had felt in childhood. I felt very unsafe and threatened.

However, I am in no doubt that:

1. I did not cause this truly abusive behaviour

2. I did nothing wrong.

By 1.30 pm I was in a great deal of pain and so I went along to the Kennel Club office to ask for an early removal pass. I got that with no trouble. The man who dealt with me, seemed to know me, or at least recognize me and he asked what was wrong other than the pain. How he knew that I don't know. I told him what had happened. He persuaded me to make an official statement about the people who had abused me. He spent some time persuading me because I was loathe do so. As child complaining just meant being ignored, blamed, and more abuse. well I am not a child and these people behaved appallingly. So the KC man wrote out the complaint for me, (I can't write anymore) and I signed it.

Fortunately for me, these people live in Aberdeen, Scotland, so are not going to be at the shows very often.

On the down side, I had not thought to eat at all as when I am stressed like that my appetite goes. It wasn't that I thought to eat and decided against it. I just didn't think to eat. When I got home at 5pm it had been 24 hours since I last ate. Suddenly I was ravenous and I ate the nearest and most available and quickest thing-a sandwich. My gut knows this today.

As for Micah and Whitney both going unplaced, well that's the dog show game. You win and you lose. This does not affect my day at show. I enjoy the day, the company of friends and seeing other dogs. Yesterday I did not enjoy at all but for the reasons already written about.

The NEC does have disabled parking but it is still such a long way from the showing area so by the time one gets there, one is done in. The LKA dog show is also held there. To be frank, I am going to have to give serious thought to showing at this place again.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry these people abused you. It seems there is no escaping this sort of thing. Why in the world they would think they were more qualified or needing of that particular spot is beyond me.

I'm very happy you filed the complaint, even though your background told you otherwise. Kudos to the official who helped you file it.

I hope today is a better day and you get your strength back quickly.

Angela said...

I know it's easier said than done Colin, but don't give those horrid people a second thought. You had every right to do what you did and they were in the wrong.

Bad luck on not getting a placing - Whitney and Micah and beautiful and will win when it is their time i have no doubt.

LizzieK8 said...

There is a certain group of people that zero in on those of us that are different. They can sense us miles away, and make a bee line for us. Our differences don't need to be visible. They have a radar.

This has happened to me, too. I've been abused by postal workers, clerks in stores, and people in general.

You are right, though, you did nothing to deserve it and you are not to blame.

I know how, too, it's difficult to raise a complaint. My current physician is the same way, and it's hard for me to complain. I just want another doctor!

BammerKT said...

Astounding that they yelled at you for moving their things out of the spot where THEY REMOVED YOUR THINGS FROM. Sounds like they've done a horrible job of raising their daughter who turned out a bully just as her parents.

I am very sorry you had to go through it. I'm sure the stress takes a toll on your body and although some people will say "don't worry about it". That is not possible coming from your background. At least not this moment. Glad your friends pitched in after to keep an eye out!

Knitting-twitter said...

hi Colin,
it seems that the behavior of people nowadays is an international problem.
You did right to complain. One can't always accept rude people.

The best you can do is to cheer yourself up, you have done nothing wrong. Such people are not worth a second thought!!
wishing you a great weekend from
Switzerland, think about your holiday..soon you will have a fantastic time travelling...
ciao Christa

Anonymous said...

I read your post on twitter yesterday. I kept wondering if you were OK.
is John home with you?

I'm glad you had some help with the dogs etc.
Thinking of you
Pam x

steel breeze said...

What horrible, horrible people. I should have shouted at them for removing my stuff, but then, that's easy to say when not physically faced by them. Perhaps I would have called over an official and let their behaviour be known. Sorry to hear you had such a bad time, I can understand why you were shaken. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to such people.

Nil te confundant illegitimae (or whatever - don't let 'em grind you down!)

CP Warner said...

Colin, this happens to me, too, where I re-live an upsetting event over and over, seeing it like a bad movie. All you can do, really, is take a deep breath, keep telling yourself it's over now, and remember you did nothing wrong.

I don't understand -- will never understand! -- what is getting into people. It seems this kind of behavior is becoming more and more commonplace. I suppose with the world in the state it's in, we can only expect it to get worse.

So, good for you, filing a complaint! Bravo to the official who encouraged you to do it, and was so helpful with the writing part. Those people deserve a reprimand, at the very least. Maybe even being banned from showing for a time. Unbelievable!

It's hard to remember at times like this that you do have a network of folks who love you and care about you. It's too easy to focus on the cranks of the world, and to wonder, especially if one is a kind person like yourself, what on earth one did to "deserve" this treatment.

Like you said in your post, you did nothing wrong, and you did not deserve such appalling treatment. Hang in there! WE all love you. :-)

Nan said...

Oh Colin, I'm so, so sorry you had to experience that. There is absolutely no excuse for it. There have always been bullies out there and I think in recent times they have somehow given themselves permission to be more overtly aggressive. It's disgusting. Do something to comfort yourself, whatever you love best, and let these nasty folks drift away from your consciousness. They did not have a right to do what they did and they do not have the right to take up anymore space in your life.


joannamauselina said...

Wow, Colin! That is too awful. I remember once when we went camping at a state park and someone moved our stuff and took our camp spot while we were going to pay or something. This was many years ago, and I think we probably just slunk off and didn’t confront the people, as we were a trio of wimps. Then we sent them evil glares later. It was good that you could disassociate at the time, but then there are the aftershocks of such things. I am upset for hours later when patients or, more likely family members act out at my job, even if it has nothing to do with me. Other people’s anger is so toxic. Those people, as you said, were angry at themselves for one reason or another. How could they have been angry at you? I would be angry at myself if I were as creepy as them, I am sure.

fairy godmother said...

I am sorry you were treated like this. People can be a**holes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Colin,

I once thought I'd find friends in the sport of dogs. After all, we all love dogs, why not? But my adventures in dogs turned into disappointment after disappointment in the quality of personal connection: in conformation, obedience, and agility, even though my dogs did well in competition.

My best friends are knitters. The knitting community has proved to be my safe haven, and it contains my best and dearest friends.

I think you are in just the right place. We love you. And those of us who've been in dogs know just what you're going through. Please remember that your home is with us, the knitters. So many of us love dogs, too---I still cry when I think about selling my agility equipment---but at the end of the day, we knit together. All is good. All is healed.

FuguesStateKnits said...

I'm so glad you filed that complaint! They may be utter appalling morons, but they should be held accountable! I think they were probably surprised by the support you got from others as well. Abusive, evil people like to act "under cover" and when others unveil their behavior, they either become more abusive to force the other to accede to the cover up or they slink off into the background. That kind of evil is sickening to even hear about. It's no wonder you had a physical reaction after all you've dealt with.
The good news is you know that you did nothing wrong and you put the blame square where it belonged!
I'd call those maggots some other names, but I'd be wasting my time. They're not worth it.

But you are!

picperfic said...

There are some pigs about in this world...have a hug Colin!