Viejos groseros

The other day I was in a really bad mood. All this stuff had piled up on my desk at work and on my shoulders outside of work and it was just one of those days. One bad look or the wrong type of comment and it's all over. So naturally, as I was walking outside to get something out of my car, a man happened to be driving by in his old beat-up pickup and decided he should let me know his opinion by specifically rolling down his window at the moment I was heading back into the house and give his best "hey baby" whistle he could muster followed by a couple "tst tst!" in case I hadn't got his drift. That's it, buddy. Wrong day.

Now maybe you're thinking I turned around, marched over to his car, and gave him a good ol' piece of this young, liberal, feminist's mind. On top of the day I had already had, the last thing I needed was some skeezy old man thinking there was anything positive that would come out of his spontaneous and unacceptable actions. Sorry to disappoint you. But for me, at that moment, the energetic middle finger I threw back at him was sufficient enough to quench my thirst for a retort. Didn't turn around, just flipped him the bird and headed back toward the house. Right before I made it to the front door, I heard him yell out in response "Double back to you!" (the translation takes away from its effect), slam on the breaks, and I was able to catch a glimpse of him sitting in his truck staring back before I entered the house.

In writing, I don't think this story should necessarily be traumatizing or cause for concern. But my immediate reaction would prove otherwise. As soon as I got into the house, I realized my heart was pounding, my stomach felt weird, and I didn't know what I was feeling. I went into the bathroom and realized tears wanted to come to my eyes. Why? Probably because the day was so overwhelming even a little kid givin' me the eye would have freaked me out. But why else? Because this man chose to rob me of the security that I thought I could have at least in front of my own house. He stopped outside my house and not only knew which car was mine, but which house was mine. He knew what I looked like and he knew I had an attitude. He thought that he had every right to express himself in that manner because hell, why not? And I had to give him that right.

Why? Because if I choose to deny him that, I have no idea what his response could be. When he yelled back at me, obviously surprised by my outward expression of disapproval, something he was fully not accustomed to, maybe it was all in jest. He did it with a smile and got a kick of out of this young guera who thought she was badass. Then again, because I didn’t see him when he did it, maybe he did it pissed off. Maybe he was so appalled by a woman who thought she could respond to a man in that way. Maybe all he wanted to do was get out of his truck, run over to where I was, and respond to my reaction in whatever way he chose and the only thing holding him back was the fact that it was broad daylight and neighbors were all around. Maybe that was the only thing that kept me from "getting what was coming to me".

Maybe it's an overreaction. Maybe absolutely nothing could have or would have happened. But should I be willing to take that risk? Should a guy pissing me off be worth the possible result of his own response?

Did this happen because I live in Mexico? For those of you think the answer to that question is yes, wake up. Get real. Perhaps it's more plausible for it to happen in Mexico because the cultural norms do not perceive his behavior to be as offensive as that of the United States. Does that mean there aren't men that want to do it every day and the ONLY reason they hold back is because of the social criticism they know they would have to deal with? So for me, a young woman who wants to feel comfortable walking alone outside my house, what am I supposed to do when there is only one reason standing between me and a violation of my personal freedom and that one thing, like the daylight, something that changes from one moment to the next, or a neighbor, someone who could just as easily walk back inside, changes in the blink of an eye? As of now, what do I do? I deal with it. Why? Because I have to.

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