Monthly Archives: June 2017

#17 – Microaggression Chronicles

A few times a week, I like to go on a walk before I start my work day. Yesterday, I went on a hike. I told my boss I was going to be in by 9:00am. All the stars aligned and I got to work at 8:15am. I decided to go on a short walk. I went into the residential side of Westwood, where beautiful gardens and high rises on Wilshire Boulevard. surround multi-million dollar homes.

I said good morning to a woman walking her dog. She looked at me up and down. I looked at myself to see what she found so offensive.  I had showered and changed into my work clothes at the gym, so I was more than presentable in my Ann Taylor dress and Banana Republic flats. I looked at her and said “have a nice day” and kept on walking.

“Excuse me” she said, I turned back.

“What house do you work at?” I looked around me to make sure she was talking to me.

The woman, probably in her fifties, was walking a small, fluffy white poodle.   Her black velour track suit, over styled hair and heavy jewelry was suffocating.

“I don’t work in a house.” I said. She took her bedazzled phone out of her gold fanny pack.

“Then, what are you doing around here?” She asked, with slight Persian accent.

“I’m taking a walk before I go to work” I said deciding to engage her and not let her ruin my day.

“You just said you don’t work in a house” she said, raising one of her stenciled eyebrows.

Her bracelets jingled as she pulled the leash back. The little poodle was trying to get away, his little paws tapping the pavement as he tried to get his owner to move.

I point to my office building. “I work there, on the twenty second floor, do you work in one of these houses?” I asked.

She gulped a large chunk of air, almost choking, her eyes opened so wide they almost bulged out of their sockets.

“I don’t work, I live around here. I’m part of the neighborhood watch group.” She said, her coral lipstick spread over her front teeth.

“Oh, I thought you were the dog walker.” I said, smiling.  “I’m also part of my neighborhood watch group and it is problematic when my neighbors profile and make assumptions about people out for a walk.”

She interrupted me. “You thought I was a dog walker? Do I look like a dog walker?” I knew I would piss her off but this was telenovela worthy melodrama.

“Well, you are walking and you have a dog, my mistake. Have a nice day.” I said, patting myself on the back for making her clutch the chunky rhinestones of her fat necklace.

My smugness was short lived when I thought about what had transpired and how different that encounter could have been for someone else. I decided to have fun at this woman’s expense because I could; I was light skinned enough, well dressed enough, legal enough, educated enough and I belonged enough.

I don’t take things like my job, my family, my health, my home or my friends for granted but I sometimes forget how much privilege I have.

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# 16 – Toxic Masculinity Chronicles

Ever since the election there has been a rampant spike in toxic masculinity, at least it feels that way to me. I’ve been meaning to chronicle these but I’m too upset or weirded out when they first happen. I want to forget that I live in a world where the patriarchy rules, that these aggressions/transgressions are not my norm but they have been happening way too often for me to “forget” about them.

Yesterday I was about an hour late to work. My regular hours are from 6am to 3pm so there is always plenty of parking spots to choose from.  At 7am on a Monday, the first level of the lot was getting full.  I pulled into a three car parking spot. I was the second car and chose the middle space. There were other places I could have parked but I chose the one closest to the garage entrance and so did the guy who pulled in behind me. He saw that I was trying to park, he could have waited for me to be done and then he could have pulled into the third spot but no. With the two of us parking, it was hard to see where my lines were. I was still OK but his car, a giant SUV did not fit in the third spot that was designated for three compact cars.

I drive a large Prius but it still fits into a compact spot.

Mr. Giant SUV pulls out of the space because I would not have been able to open my door with his gas guzzler parked next to mine. As I’m walking away, I can see that he is trying to pull back into the spot. I don’t know what time he goes home but there was no way I would have been able to get into my car from the driver’s seat. There were other spots he could have parked in.
I walked back, knocked on his window as he was putting some pomade on his shiny bald head. I startled him. I pointed to my car. He looked and rolled down his window.

“What would you like me to do about it little girl.” Said the wanna be Lex Luther in an Australian accent that I’m sure has made many women swoon but it made me roll my eyes and take a deep breath.

“I’d like you to back out so I can park somewhere else and you can keep your one oversized SUV in the spots designated for two compact cars.”

“Well sweetheart, had you done a better job parking you wouldn’t be in this predicament.” He said, getting out of the car and heading for the elevator.

“If you dare go into that elevator and I can’t get into my car, I will call security and have your car towed.” He kept walking and saw me reach for my phone. I have Joe, the doorman on speed dial.

“Joe, some asshole is blocking me and is about to get in the elevator, he’s wearing a checkered pink and white shirt, can you please, oh wait, it looks like he’s going to move after all.”

I stood by my car as he moved his car to another spot. I took my car and moved to another spot as well. I was walking toward the elevator, I was not expecting him to hold the door, if anyone had seen him pressing the close door button, they would have thought he was getting electrocuted.

This was no way to start the week.

I reached for my phone and looked at pictures of my daughter, it made me smile.  As the day went on, I kept trying to block the incident out of my mind but I couldn’t.

I don’t know why this guy chose to park in the spot next to mine as I was parking my car.  Was he making a political protest by squeezing his Escalade next to a Prius and a Tesla? Or was it an insecurity issue? Wanting his big car parked next to two smaller, more efficient ones?