“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run”
– Kenny Rogers, The Gambler
Since I wrote about body language yesterday, I thought I’d share a personal story about the importance of reading physical cues.
The following is completely true:
It was my second evening in Managua, Nicaragua. I had just finished eating, and decided to walk back to my hotel room. It was only a few blocks away and the sun had only just set, what could go wrong?
[Before I get a bunch of hate for being a moron, take two things into consideration: 1) I’m from Iowa, there is no crime in my home state. 2) I wasn’t in a dangerous part of the city.]
Halfway back to my room, I noticed a dude in front of me who seemed suspicious. While I couldn’t put my finger on the reason, I knew something wasn’t right about this guy. As I continued my stroll, I kept an eye on him. A little further along, I caught him make an unnatural hand gesture. It was subtle and if I hadn’t been watching him, I would have missed it.
Having watched Taken and half a dozen other “people go on vacation and bad things happen” style movies, I decided it was high time to get out of dodge. As the man was making his signal, I turned and started running the opposite direction. At about the same time half a dozen dudes came streaming out from an alleyway.
I’d love to tell you that I busted out some sweet fighting moves, and single handily beat them all up; but I’d be lying. Instead reality, I started yelling “Policia!” as I sprinted away. Although I escaped unscathed, things would have turned out a lot worse if I hadn’t picked up on my aggressors visual cues.
P.S. From that night forth I took taxis everywhere.