Today was my first day back in the Queen City of the Ozarks, and I started it off with breakfast buffet at Golden Corral (not kidding). No dipping of the toes back into midwest life for me, no sir. Cannonballing in with a good ol’ American all-you-can-eat. (and I saw more overweight people there in thirty seconds than I did in 9 whole days in Europe.) I came back from vacation with a permasmile on my face (as it should be) so nothing could get me down. Not the Bass Pro Tshirts or the cheese-bathed hash browns. It’s all good.
Also went to Walmart for the uniquely U-S-of-A ritual BigBox stocking-up. It’s Halloweentime so the seasonal aisles are stocked with orange-and-black kitsch and candy. I could write poetry.
As much as I loved my trip, I am glad to be home. I’m looking forward to the fall, and feel (with hopeful, don’t-jinx-this anticipation) that I’m at the start of a season that will find me more creative and content.
But the one thing about life-as-usual I didn’t miss and don’t enjoy: the men in my neighborhood. I’m seriously considering a commute to the southside for my runs. Remember a few weeks ago when I half-complained about the indifferent shrug guy? Well, I’ve changed my mind. Give me miles and miles of indifferent-shrug-guy.
The fall weather must just bring the winners outdoors. Tonight I actually felt a little unsafe more than once. In the middle of the day? On a Sunday? Less than a mile from my house? In Springfield?
None of this is alright with me. And here’s the part that put me over the edge:
This one guy (who must’ve been an extra in Winter’s Bone) actually yelled to me from his sagging porch, “how you doin’ honey?” and I know I shouldn’t let this bother me, but you know what? It does.
I just pretended I didn’t hear him with my earbuds in, but I sorta wish I could go back, remove said earbuds and cordially tell him the following:
I’m good, thanks. In fact, yesterday I was in Paris. I’m great, actually, because I get to come home to friends and family who love me, a home that I own, and a job that I enjoy. But most simply and importantly, I am a woman. And as such, I deserve and demand respect. I know you grew up on a diet of porn and pop music, which have fed you the lie that women are objects. But even if that were true, this right here is an object that you can not afford. You don’t even get to look at the catalog. So please think about that the next time you feel like saying something to me when I pass by. Because unless that thing is “I’m not worthy,” I’m afraid you are wasting your time.
<insert Queen Latifah-like soulful wag of the finger and exit>