wJun 22, 2009

Maybe I'd make a good homicidal maniac, motherfucker!

I should maybe preface this by noting that throughout my life, people have told me that my default expression is not a smile. This may have something to do with constantly being told to SMILE for no reason just because I was a girl (really, have you ever heard a stranger tell a man, "SMILE!"?); it may be because something is usually pissing me off.

No matter what the reason, I tend to make a conscious choice to look this way when I'm walking alone in my neighborhood. I don't live in a particularly rough area of town, but I do live downtown, by myself, in an efficiency apartment.

I came to this apartment after an uncomfortable living situation. So when I moved into my own apartment, I was elated. I felt safe, I felt comfortable, everything was MINE, and nobody would be in my space unless I invited them and they went out of their way to come over.

I don't know any of my neighbors other than a few by sight, but I don't really care to; I'd prefer not to, in fact. My apartment is where I come to be alone, and I kind of love it.

Back to my neighborhood, it's not very bad but it's not ideal. In the fall, there were multiple reports of rapes within three blocks of my apartment. I always carry pepper spray, but I just tend to lean toward anonymity when I can.

So tonight I'm walking home from book club. It's almost 9pm, but it's June 22nd so it's really light outside. A man from my building exits the building, leading a tiny dog on a leash. I smile at the dog and happen to glance up, where my eyes meet with the dude.

"It's good to see you smile," the man says, "You're always frowning."
"Yeah, that's what people say."
"You always look so....MEAN." I'm not really sure how to reply to that, so I don't say anything.
"You'd make a good librarian!" He laughs and walks away.

I probably would make a good librarian, but I was not a huge fan of this exchange.

There's been a lot of discussion about rape on the LiveJournal the last week or so (if you've missed it, there's a summary with links here), and it just makes me think about the gendered difference of how people view things.

When I'm walking alone at night, I'm not thinking about how badly I want to go to bed or how much I want to read some manga; even if I'm talking on my phone to my boyfriend (which I make him do so someone will know exactly where I am), I'm thinking about whether or not someone could hide behind the bush I'm walking by, or how close the people on the sidewalk are to me and whether they look like they might help me if I was in trouble or if they might turn on me.

So yeah, buddy, I'm not going to smile at you or ask you how your night is going or ask you details about your personal life; I'm going to get the fuck inside my own apartment and double-bolt the door.

My friend has suggested that the next time I see this man, I should smile at his dog, and then look at the man and draw my finger across my throat while glaring. BWAHAHA.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 8:50 PM

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