Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Lovin'? Not so much...

Today I had an appointment for which I was, of course, running late.  At least I thought I was so I decided to take a cab from my neighborhood in Ukrainian Village to the Chicago/Franklin area in River North.  I got into a cab with who I thought was a chocolate-ly love muffin, tall with dark smooth skin; as I surveyed the situation from the back seat I decided that together with his cab driving-salary and mine from freelancing gigs that we could make a good life together.  Then about two blocks into the ride, I noticed he was listening to Rush Limbaugh.  "Rush Limbaugh!"  I shrieked.  He asked me slightly condescendingly (I now realize) if I knew who RL was.  "Of course," I responded "the real question is:  'Do you know who he is?'" (perhaps equally condescending on my part) The conversation progressed (devolved) and shifted to women somehow and he stated that he would love to come back in his next life to be a woman, because all we do is lie around at home with men buying us things, paying our bills and taking us out to eat, while men work hard.  He informed me that he works 12 hours a day driving.  He was outwardly hostile and I thought to myself and of course informed him that he might want to rethink the company he keeps.  By that time I'd arrived at my destination.  In parting I let him know that dealing with crusty ass negroes (and I use that term as a catch all for men of all races and creeds) is a full-time job in and of itself.  

I was feeling sassy, what can I say?

I was really struck by the experience, he was so vehement about it and in that short exchange, I could feel how venomous and bitter his attitude was about women, what he feels they represent, and his relationship to them.  All I kept thinking is that if he is with someone right now, he beats her ass on the regular.  Not so nice.  

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk.  I decided to go buy some plantains and I wanted to try once again to make a pot of arroz con gandules.  I never quite get it right, but I thought 'I'll go pick up the gandules and some sausage, and I'll take my time with it.'  So I headed out.  

Now, I must offer this bit of information, it's sunny and warm and I am looking real cute these days.  My skin has taken on this coppery shimmer from my walks and bike rides, and well, I am really happy and I think I'm just exuding all of that. 

Additionally it is holla season (as me and my girls like to call it) and I was walking through the 'hood.  It's a documented fact that dudes --young and old-- get real ignorant in the summer time.  Not all, but quite frankly, most, so I was braced for the "Ooh girl, you got a big booty!" or the "que culon!" or even the "Are you married, I think I could be a real good friend to you..." or the ubiquitous "Umph Umph Umph" or last but not least, uttered with a most lecherous growl the "Ay mamita/morena/churra, dime que quieres" type of comments...

Anyway, as I was headed into grocery store a drunk and/or hype ass negro screamed a garbled comment about my behind and presumably what he would do to if given the chance.  I wasn't sure at first until a man who was perhaps acting as a security guard yelled to him to go home and looked at me.  It was at that point that I got a little embarrassed, which made me angry. It's crazy the level of misogyny that we face on a daily basis and no one says or does anything about it.  Men who don't engage in those comments stand around and say nothing, other men who do engage feel it's o.k., that it's their right and privilege.  

The fact that the man at the store felt he could say this and that even the cab driver felt compelled to rant makes me wonder just how much respect (or maybe just how little) black and brown men have for black and brown women in general.  I already know the answer to that question, unfortunately.  Sigh.

Never did get that pot of arroz con gandules going.

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