01 November 2013

1: November/rage

It's November.

Yup. Sure is. 

Last night it took me more than 45 minutes to complete a 10 minute commute home, for the second time this week.

On Tuesday, I gave myself a break and drove to work, which turned out to be a Very Large Mistake. 

Some, I don't know, water main broke, and one of the major arteries through downtown was closed. This was a minor inconvenience of about ten minutes delay in the morning. 

I left work at 6 pm, expecting to dash home, eat something, and have a few minutes to chill before my skype Spanish lesson. 

38 minutes later, I had driven an eight block circle right back to where I'd started, thanks to one-way streets and no right turn intersections and the fact that the street I started on was the one that was closed at its intersection with the major artery through downtown with the broken water main.

I took a different route across the river and I was home 10 minutes later.

Last night, I got on a bus that was already full, and I stood in the little open space in front of the back door so that I wouldn't have to hold on a pole, because that hurts my gimpy hands. (Gripping anything for too long does: a pen, a bag, a book.)

Half an hour and 9 blocks later, I noticed that a women standing in front of me in the aisle had one arm in a sling and a bandage on her other hand, and she was holding onto the pole with the bandaged hand, wincing every time the bus moved and she had to hang on.

Everyone ignored her.

Look, I've been there. I know how it feels to stand there desperately hoping that somehow, some way, someone will notice that you have this invisible pain (or in her case, not invisible) that no one wants to notice because then they'd have to give up a seat.

One day, I was stuck up at the front of the bus where you have to hold on to a bar above your head, and that is the worst for my nerve issues, and when the bus emptied at the back, no one moved back and I finally had to push past people to at least hold on to a pole at waist level. It hurt.

We are not supposed to stand up for ourselves. We are supposed to suck it up and take it. 

By we, I mean women. I mean everyone in polite society, but I especially mean women.

Even more, if you are a poor woman, you are supposed to suck it up, because the world assumes that probably you brought it all on yourself, and this woman was poor.

(And frankly, that infuriates me, because people are so deliberately blind to the part where WE DON'T ALL START OUT IN THE SAME PLACE and it's so f*cking unfair to expect people to overcome things that NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO OVERCOME and to judge them if they can't. Shouty voice.)

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I leaned forward over the seats in front of me, and I asked her, "Would you like to come stand back here where you don't have to hold on? It might be easier on your hands."

And then I was just angry at everyone else on the bus and their unthinking selfishness and I said, louder, "OR SOMEONE COULD GIVE YOU A SEAT."

"I might just get off at the next stop," she said softly. "Maybe the next bus won't be as full."

The woman who gave her a seat was herself in her 50s, and I wanted to smack all the young, healthy people who didn't.

I had another 20 minutes on the bus to sit with my righteous rage, too.

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