Maybe I shouldn't have surrendered so soon.
When I was leaving work the other day, I was rear-ended by a doctor who works at the same hospital. We were both trying to exit the parking lot, and there was a long line of people trying to leave behind us.
At first I was shocked. It felt strange, like I didn't know what really happened. When I got out of the car, I met him at my bumper. He was still on the phone. He was starting to look at my bumper, and I could hear him muttering to himself about how there probably wasn't too much damage. He mumbled something to me about "leaving insurance out of this" and "I'll just take care of this myself."
In a hurry to get home, I did everything wrong. I thought it would be easier if I left the cops/security guards out of this one, and since he didn't want to involve insurance, I just agreed to take his business card and get on my way home. I thought I was just surrendering. Going with the flow. Stopping all the mental striving.
As it turns out, that was a bad idea. I should have gotten the name of a witness. I should have demanded his insurance information. I should have at least called security. Because when I tried to call and get his insurance information later, he was completely rude and refused to give me the information I needed. I was going to have to do everything his way.
It perturbs me when I can see people taking advantage of me. He was trying to intimidate me, and it was working. And as much as my years as a reporter might have prepared me to work with difficult people, I still don't respond well to nasty people. It was basically the reason I stopped being a reporter. But I didn't think I had lost my edge so quickly.
What this experience did was teach me that surrendering doesn't necessarily mean surrendering your rights. When I thought I was being agreeable, I was actually being a pushover. It made me want to explore ways for me to be more assertive. The bad part is that I thought I was assertive.