This is a live reading from April 10th, where I was honored to be chosen to do the read of Chapter 3 of the Book of The Law for the annual Holy Days celebration. And of course since I can’t just read a piece of material without getting all bombastic, Eric is accompanying me with noise and percussion.
And that’s just fine. It’s a pretty damn bombastic chapter.
And you know, sometimes a gal just needs to channel a God of War and of Vengeance. Like this past week, for example…
There’s this guy who hangs around Hell’s Kitchen, usually in the vicinity of 9th and 10th Aves. I don’t see him every time I’m there, but whenever I do he has to holla, but hell. That’s being kind. He’s crossed into stalker territory.
Now, I know there’s a lot of discussion about street harassment, and I also have some criticisms of how that discussion has played out in some instances (coughHollaback-editing-all-the-white-pervs-out-of-their-videocough). I personally think it’s pretty pathetic, and I don’t buy when some argue it’s complimentary. That’s bullshit, because it’s likely those guys have said that stuff to every woman who walked by before me and will say it to every woman who’s walks by after, so looking to this sort of thing for validation strikes me as the equivalent of trying to find a healthy and vegetarian lunch at a highway rest stop when touring.
Thing is, sometimes I’ve felt like because I tend not to be frightened or intimidated by it or feel they are taking my “safe space” or whatever, that I’m somehow betraying the way the dialogue is “supposed” to go, according to some of the more academic feminist set. I don’t doubt some people do feel that way. I’m not telling them they shouldn’t. But I don’t. I find most of them to come off like yappy little high pitched chihuahuas. Except that I actually do think chihuahuas are cute.
Yeah. World of difference.
HOWEVER, there are times when these fuckers do crossed the line from yap yap yap to red alert. Doing things like following, trying to grab, blocking someone’s pathway…I know people who try to trivialize the entire thing will downplay or deny that these things sometimes happen too. Well, they do. And Mr. 10th Avenue Sleazer? Yeah, he’ll cross the line. Follow me from the store, trying to coax me to “talk to him for a minute” in out-of-sight alcoves or walkways to buildings.
I know it’s now politically incorrect to advise women and girls on safety, we’re all supposed to expect sociopaths to not be sociopaths, but I’ll just drop this one hint. Is a stranger twice your size trying to lure you into an isolated-yet-confined space? Ummm, yeah, they’re up to no good.
The time before this, which was at least a month back, 10th Avenue Sleazer stopped me when I was walking with Eric. I introduced them so this guy would see firsthand I have a husband, and so that said husband could get a good look at him.
“I don’t like that guy.” Eric says to me, mustering his old-skool street kid intuition.
“You shouldn’t. He’s a dick.” I answered.
So fast forward to an afternoon where I’m dropping off Abuelita’s laundry, and then head over to the 99 cent store to pick up some sponges and florida water, and of course guess who walks in as I’m paying at the register. And proceeds to walk right out to trail me as I head back to the laundromat. Trying to get me to walk down with him to the entrance to a building basement, yeah you’re not creepy at all so he can ask me a question. Finally, I guess he get’s frustrated enough to ask it on the sidewalk.
“Why would a beautiful woman marry a cripple?”
And then I couldn’t take it any more.
Screaming expletives intertwined with with declarations of Eric’s beauty, more beautiful than me, his brilliance as a drummer, his sovereignty as a human being, and more strings of Exorcist-style profanity. I see a broken curtain rod on the ground, one end with a knob, the other rough and sharp in some places where the break happened. I grab it and brandish it as a weapon. He watches with an expression suggesting he can’t decide whether this is “cute” or “batshit insane” (answer: it doesn’t fucking matter) and stupidly repeats “Your husband is a drummer?” I back away keeping my eyes on him. Now he doesn’t follow. I dash off and raced towards the Fountain Gallery, periodically glancing over my shoulder. In there I unwind by looking at the art and fortunately my friend Ariella, who’s represented by them, is there and I’m able to unwind, to vent to her.
It’s good to have a friendly sympathetic ear.