I do not need a piece of paper to tell me that I am worth the same amount as a man, that I should have the same rights, and that I should be given the same respect.
The government gave me one, though. All us girls got one. Actually, we have two of them, to share. They're somewhere in the National Archives, I think. Maybe even on display.
One of them is the Constitution. The other is the Bill of Rights.
Despite all of that, and the arguments that John Adams put forth (he really loved his wife) to insist that the word "woman" should actually appear in there somewhere, we are still here today. Arguing.
But there have been all kinds of legislation thrown around since then, legislation that spells it out in simple words for simple people to understand: women are not pets, they are not pretty little toys you can take out and play with and then leave at home in pearls and high heels, to wait for you to come back.
We are people too.
This is something the man at the gas station at the junction of Stitt street and State Road 15 in Wabash failed to realize. I am telling you all where it is so that you will know where this kind of stuff goes down, and avoid it. I forget its actual name. Or I would tell you. So that this wouldn't happen to you, as all the creepy people go to this gas station.
I have been heckled before. I have had a very, very drunk construction worker come up from behind my mother and I as we walked through London, throw his arms around the two of us, and cry in very slurred, very common English, "Oy, are you from New York?"
He then realized I was female (it took him a while, as he was very, very drunk), and tried to grab something his hands should never touch, leading to my elbow in his stomach. He then let go of Mom and I, and his co-workers (not for long, I'm sure), tackled him and dragged him back to wherever they'd been hiding him before.
I have been whistled at; I've told you all about the freaks and weirdos who stare at me and try to ask me for rides on their motorcycles, despite the fact that I could be their granddaughter.
Well. It does not get worse than what happened to me on Wednesday night at this gas station.
The guy was a real gem. I didn't get a chance to tear him apart in person, so here you go:
He was the kind of white boy hip-hop reject vomited out of high schools during the late 90's. Guys who wished they could be Joey Fatone or Lance Bass, before they found out the latter was gay.
But they couldn't give up their white-trash roots, so they chain smoked like every other member of the uber-cool group (what did they smoke, you ask? You name it) until their teeth turned orange and fell right out of their skulls, crumbled to dust and eaten along with their Hamburger Helper, microwave pizza, and vending machine sandwich diet.
His ears were at right angles to his head; his pants were cinched on below his rear, revealing an expanse of space that answered forever the question: "Boxer or brief?" He was also one of the hated few my father derides constantly, the man with the backwards baseball cap. This cap was barely situated on his head, and it was the trucker kind, the kind with the foam that keeps it from actually forming to fit your head.
And he had one of those spacer earrings. I wonder which ear?
They live in crumbled down houses turned over to apartments, like the one across from the library. The apartment numbers are stickers, the kind you put on your mailbox, only some of them have peeled away, leaving gaps between numbers. They have sofas on their front porch, wheel-less cars filling their front yard, and if they ever go inside, you never see it happen.
But that's not so bad. Heck, if I had a porch, I would so put a sofa out there. It would be cozy. Better than those stupid lawn chair things my dad keeps dragging home. And my car could easily be confused for a derelict.
Even if this rabid male chauvinist, this wretched oozing growth on the posterior of the human species, had been spawned in the lap of luxury, it would not have afforded him an ounce of understanding from me.
Ten to one, he was a high school drop out. He would have been kicked out for language like that.
The odds are higher that he has never read anything, for any reason, and that he's happy to announce that fact to the world.
I stood behind him in line to pay for my gas.
I didn't want to be in line. I wanted to pay at the pump. But they wouldn't let me. The announcer just kept telling me to come inside. Inside where people can smoke. And I am allergic.
I should have just left. But instead, I got as little gas as I could, then went inside to pay with my debit, only to meet up with a long line of people buying lottery tickets.
If there is ever a public forum for gas station/convenience store etiquette, I will raise my hand and tell the world that if you are buying lottery tickets, it is not okay to scratch them off or check if they are winning tickets in whatever other way you do that as you stand at the register and make it impossible for the cashier to serve anyone else.
It also should be a rule that those with quick purchases should go first, and those wanting 3 of this ticket, 5 of that ticket, and these are the numbers I want for Powerball...should go dead last. Always. I would prefer they had a second line just for that.
I was behind this boiling cyst, staring at his freaky right-angle ears and waiting for him to pick out which kind of cigarettes were cheapest.
Then he left. The good man behind me graciously allowed me to step up and pay for my gas, waiting to pay for his many grocery items until I had finished.
I left the store.
The weeping sore was in his car. His(?) CHILDREN were behind him. I will not go into the fact that he was smoking with them trapped in the car. But that is criminal too.
And he waved me on.
So, knowing that I should never, ever walk in front of this man, I went.
I went because I am used to being stared at, blankly, by random people--men. It happens. I am not happy with it. But the way I see it, I get a free pass to stare at them when something freakish is happening with their clothes, face, etc. I also get the freedom to point. Or smear them here.
As I walked, it said something so horrible to me that I will and have never repeated it to anyone.
If I said it out loud, it would make me cry. And I will not allow this festering scab to make me cry. I am better than that. I am stronger.
That cretin said it in front of his children, who will be old enough to hear and have some small understanding of what he said. They are old enough to repeat it.
The amalgamation of rat feces, hair product, nicotine, and gangrenous tissue drove away in his car, laughing maniacally.
He'd gotten my attention, that's what he'd wanted.
I went home, playing loud, angry rock. Fine, I don't have angry rock. But it was Alanis--and that is man-hating rock. So it counts.
And I rounded a corner on Paul. Poor Paul who always gets this kind of treatment, just in case he should answer wrong.
"Do I have a soul?" I demanded.
"Yes..." Paul answered, knowing this was one of those times...
"Do I look like I am more or less the same as you?"
"And does it make sense that I should be treated kind of like you are, despite the fact that I don't have a penis of my very own?"
Imagine Paul kind of freaked out that I said the word "penis" as he replied, "Yes."
"Tell your friends," I said. Then I went on and on about what I had endured, how evil it was, and how I thought men who behaved like that should have their eyes gouged out. If they get so much pleasure from looking at girls, well...how about never doing it again?
I know a lot of really, really fantastic guys. I know a couple of them read this blog. This post is so you, and other guys I don't know who might be less-evolved than you can actually understand what we (girls) mean when we say there is something wrong with the way women are treated.
If you think rolling down your car window and sexually harassing a girl is poor form, you are fantastic and you should get a medal. I know two male readers of this blog who deserve one of their very own. I will make some.
If you think it's a-okay to do something like that, you should be burnt at the stake a la Joan of Arc.