From work itís about a mile over to Civic Center station. There were no busses on VanNess, so I walked as fast as I could. Thought Iíd see if it took any less time to go to Civic Center than VanNess since the train might be a little less crowded one stop earlier, but itís the same, or a little farther and it wasnít any less crowded. I was going to be late and had to take the J so I crammed on. Enough people had gotten off the car, there was definitely room for me even though I had an overstuffed bag and my mandolin bag to carry. I balanced them in my left arm and grabbed a pole with my right. To my left a big man was hanging on, standing close, his giant gut taking up a good portion of my personal space. Just before the train lurched into motion, some dude circled around and reached behind me to grab the pole with his right arm, shadowing me from behind.
Did the train car suddenly get more crowded? The shadow seemed too close, but I couldnít move because my left arm was already sinking into the gut on the other side. I tried to shift my weight. The shadow was making nonchalant humming noises, as if somehow that would keep me from noticing that he was now directly behind me, and that his crotch was rubbing against my ass. His rubbing wasnít in the rhythm of the train, the movements didnít shimmy and shake with the rest of the passengers. My face started to squinch up. I tried to move left but the expansive gut was closing in. My expression was definitely noticeable to other passengers now. I thought about saying ďDUDE! You are TOO close!Ē But my brain wouldnít allow me to think that someone would do this on purpose.
A train never took so long to get from Civic Center to VanNess. I was seething: at myself for not demanding he move, calling attention to his behavior, shaming him, ridiculing him! For not protecting myself! At the fact that no one else dared to protect me! For not ďaccidentallyĒ slipping and falling backwards ramming my tensed uncomfortable butt into his package and causing him some damage. But they just donít train you how to handle these situations, even if they think they do. By now my face was rapidly cycling between looks of disgust, horror, outrage, and shame. Awesome!
At the stop when I was sure I could balance with my gear in my arms with no pole to hold on to, I grabbed the shadowís arm, the one that had been corralling me in to his line of fire, and shoved it up out of my way. ďEXCUSE ME, Iím moving OVER HERE!Ē I said, and started that direction though there was absolutely no room in that direction. Once I made my move the two middleagers in the seats nearest started reaching for my stuff ďOh honey! You needs to move!Ē They offered to take my bags, to make room, to openly talk about their disgust. The shadow, probably realizing that I was not going to continue to take it, disembarked and disappeared. Only now did the middle-aged farts tell me that he had just been doing that to someone else before I got on, that he had circled around to me like a hawk, and that it was completely obvious to everyone that he was doing something lewd, and that I didnít like it.
Honestly I was grateful for their help, their offering to take my bags, their irate comments about him. The more I think about it though, the more these fucks piss me off as much as the shadow did. They saw the whole thing? Saw I was pissed and upset? Saw that he was basically sexually accosting me and they just tsk tskíd to themselves? I have decided that is not good enough. If someone shadows me again I wonít keep my mouth shut. If I see it happening to you on the bus, Iíll ask you if you want to move now, not later. And Iíd appreciate it if youíd do the same for me.
Oh, and if you wouldnít mind, donít touch me. Ever. Thanks.
Iím learning to play the mandolin. I go to 30th and Church on Thursdays after work to the tiny apartment of a British woman. I seem to remember her resume in the book at the music school said she had an advanced degree in a natural science. Her apartment is possibly even smaller than mine is, but thereís plenty of room to get crazy with the mandolin. Iíve only had one lesson, so for now, I only get to practice striking open strings. There are only 4 strings (well 4 pairs), and only 4 patterns Iím to practice. I got a metronome, so I can practice this at different speeds. I can also practice this piano or forte. Thatís all Iím allowed to practice for now. Pretty exciting eh?
The actual exciting part is that the mandolin is tuned like a violin, so if I were to get proficient with it, I might be able with a little practice, to play some violin. Or, to get crazy with the fiddle. Chances are these lessons will get my music reading skills to erupt with heretofore-unknown power. Itís a good thing that I am not only a soprano, but that I only choose instruments written in the treble clef. F the bass clef anyway. Itís probably too early to get excited about the NEXT instrument I might want to learn, since Iíve only had one lesson, and my guitar skills are limited to crappy tab reading while I sing retarded folk songs, but I have a picture in my mind of my future spare room where all my instruments are lined up, and I spend my crazy-old-lady-hood in there tuning them to each other for hours on end.
This is the best headline I've seen in a while - from the SF Chronicle September 17, 2004