Monday, May 14, 2018

Chance Encounter and the Curse of Mother's Day

Early yesterday morning, (05:55 to be exact) I went out for a run. A few blocks from my house, I spotted a man standing on a street corner. I had to decide if I would change my route to avoid him, or run past - a routine decision that all women have to make when they're alone and are approaching a strange man. This man appeared to be weaving on his feet and I can easily outrun a drunk so I decided to proceed. When I got close, he approached me, indeed without any respect for boundaries so I had to hold up my hand and tell him not to come any closer. I wasn't afraid, but I was annoyed. I asked him to tell me what he wanted. He was wearing a baseball cap, glasses, and clothes that, although rumpled, had probably seen a washing machine recently. In an educated voice, he asked me if I could help him. I cut him off, saying I didn't have any money and then went quickly on my way. He didn't try to follow me.

At first, I felt guilty that I had rebuffed this man so brusquely, although truly, I had no means to help him. I don't carry money with me when I run and I didn't even have my phone. But then I realized: He's a white man. No harm will come to him. Had he been non-white, someone might have called the police about a "suspicious" person. Had he been a woman, there might have been offers of help along the lines of "Hey baby, want a ride?" But he was a white male, secure as King Henry II's proverbial virgin with a bag of gold, perfectly safe to stand on a residential street corner at 6:00 am, accosting random women.

My feelings turned in a different direction entirely and I found myself angry with the man rather than with myself. Honestly, how feeble to find yourself stranded and to just expect someone to rescue you. The man had two legs that worked, he could have used them and walked downtown and found help.

Anyway, screw him. I changed my route on the homeward run and didn't see him again, but the whole incident made me realize that I don't like men. Sorry men, but a lot of you really suck. And even the relatively decent men who don't sexually harass or condescend are still standing around basking in their male privilege in a very irritating way.

It must have been a rough night in Charlottesville on Saturday. Two blocks from the man who accosted me, I saw someone sleeping in their car and I also encountered a man passed out on someone's front yard - something you might see in a student neighborhood, but unusual for my neighborhood. The man who approached me, I suspect was a tourist, lost, drunk, and bewildered in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Yesterday was Mother's Day, which I try not to acknowledge because it's the most angst-filled day of the year. This year was my first Mother's Day without a single child in the house and I was free to do what I wanted - EXCEPT - on this day of all days, Phoebe got sick. When I took her out for a walk, she refused to go into the park and insisted on standing in the vacant lot, munching on the tall grass. Inside again, her stomach made such ominous noises, we had to go straight back out and my sacred morning routine of tea and a book was upset because I had to stay out with her, waiting for her to puke. Classic Mother's Day - even when your kids are all taking care of themselves, you still can't escape being responsible for someone who's about to puke. Jon, of course, slept like a baby through all the events just described.

In other news, my new website is coming along but isn't quite ready to be launched. Wordpress.org offers a bewildering array of tools and it's been scolding me because I suck at SEO. Of course I want readers, but maybe it isn't a super high priority for my blog to land near the top of searches. Also, I installed a new theme which undid much of the work I'd already done with one of Wordpress' standard themes. Maybe in another week or two it will be ready. This may be the last post that I write at this site. I intend to migrate all my content here to the new site.


4 comments:

  1. I am rapidly losing my patience with white men, including those who don't understand all the ways they make things difficult for women.

    I really dislike WordPress these days. Good luck with your website.

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  2. Sorry to hear about Phoebe's troubles. It was so lovely yesterday morning, I sat in the yard with my coffee and Sunday paper and the dog. I think she wanted a walk, but I was determined to have my lazy morning.

    There is a man with an office in my building downtown with a very ugly anti-Hillary sticker on his vehicle. I had the unpleasant experience of coming in the building behind him one day - he totally slammed the door in my face. Assholes are gonna asshole I thought, at least he advertises what a pig he is on his car. Then he did the same thing to one of the other white men that work in the building, who proceeded to rant about what a f***ing asshole that guy is, who can't do a simple human thing like hold a door for someone a step behind. Turns out, even white guys don't like white guys and are over the entitlement.

    I skipped to SEO parts of wordpress when I moved over there. I don't really care how popular I am on the internet.

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  3. Oi,
    speaking as a man, a white man, I am really getting fed up with the constant attacks being made on blokes.
    I've worked in Science, Industry, Retail and Academe, and in all those different areas, I've never seen blatant sexual harassment, let alone assault.
    The whole #MeToo thing has gotten completely out of hand.

    Sorry to hear about Phoebe, hope the grass-eating worked.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, but I am not backing down on this. I don't know what life is like for women in New Zealand, but I have experienced harassment many times. I've been followed, groped numerous times, have had to fend off unwanted advances many times and my experiences are mild compared to many women's. Men seem to think that women owe them something - be it smiles, attention, or actual sexual gratification and I am done with it. And you should talk - your blog is full of degrading pictures of women.

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