Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Male Privilege

Mr. Misha is out of town.  I needed to go to the store.  It was 2:30am.  I needed to go to the store at 2:30am because I slept all day.  I slept all day because I worked all night.  In fact, I worked five 12hr night shifts in the past 7 days. A lot of things fell  through he cracks.  I need to do laundry. I need to go grocery shopping.  I need to clean  the house.

Tonight, I needed milk, for my cereal, for my coffee.  So I decided to pop over to the local convenience  store and get some.  I grabbed my keys, my phone and the cocker spaniel and hopped in the car.  No one was in the parking lot as I pulled in.  The cashier was the regular gentlemen that I see on my late night trips.  I picked out my items and paid for them.  At that time, I noticed a tall, bald, white guy in a track suit.

I made a beeline to my car.  My key was already out, I was already thinking about how to avoid the dude.  I was thinking about how to defend myself.  Then the guy approached me.  He was drunk.  He was slurring his words and reeked of booze.  He started towards me.  "Ma'am, I am trying to get to St. Helena"  "Sorry, I'm not going that way"  He keeps walking towards me.  I open my car door. As I get in my seat, he puts his hand on my door, preventing me from closing it.  "My girlfriend just took off.  She has my wallet, my credit cards".  He moves to the other side of my car door.  "Let go of my car door, NOW"  I start to close the door.  "If you can't give me a ride, can you spare some cash?"  "LET GO OF MY CAR DOOR, NOW."  I reach down into the side compartment of my door and pull out my mace.  The cocker spaniel is now growling, the hair is going up on her back.  This dog loves everyone, but she senses my fear.  I pull on the door and close it, almost smashing his fingers in the door frame.   I lock the door.  He stands there, staring at me, giving me sad puppy dog eyes.  I drive away quickly.  I was more cautious than normal getting out of my car and getting into my home.  My heart was racing.

He was probably just a drunk dude who got into a fight with his girlfriend.  He probably had no ill-intent.  But no one ever taught him not to approach a woman like that.  He had no understanding of how scary it may have been for me, how threatening he seemed.  Men, do better.  We can't tell if you are a good guy or a bad guy.  In fact, when we are alone at night, it is safer for us to presume that all you are bad.  That is sad.

I hope that dude gets to St. Helena.  I hope when he tells his girlfriend this story, she will point out how creepy he was being.  I hope she will also tell him that unless he sees a head full of grey hair, or a "World's Greatest Grandma" sticker on my car- NEVER CALL ME MA'AM.  Miss or Ms. will be just fine.

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