Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Personal Space Invaders

On Saturday and Sunday, I didn't leave my apartment. Not even to take the trash down to the dumpster. (And thank you, whichever kind neighbor saw the trash bag outside my door and took it down for me.) So on Monday, when I did go out into the world, I made an inappropriate amount of eye contact with people. I think I kind of forgot that other people exist outside of myself and my friends in the computer.

But other people do exist. In fact, they exist a little too much, and need to exist somewhere outside of my personal space.

This morning, I got street harassed on my way to the subway. I had the nerve--the nerve--to say nothing to a stranger who complimented me on my dress, and he followed me across the street to the subway entrance, where he continued to shout abuse at my as I went down the stairs. First he informed me that I was rude for not responding to his compliment--yeah, buddy, I'm the rude one in this scenario--and then he told me I wasn't "that cute anyway."

That's only the first half of this story.

On my lunch hour, I usually take a book and go to another floor in my building where there are couches. You know, to unwind. So I was standing in front of the elevator, already reading my book, when someone else from my floor comes up next to me. She says hi, and I grunt. We get in the elevator together--I'm still looking down at my book--and she asks me what I'm reading.

Is a book in front of a face not the universal symbol for "leave me alone"?

Apparently not. I say, vaguely, "It's a police story." And this woman takes the book from me to turn it over and look at the cover.

Both of these things happened today. It's so astounding I have to put another one up.


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