Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An Unfortunately Visible Monster

I'm feeling pretty guilty about the amount of driving that I'm doing this summer, but their isn't much to be done about it. At least until the summer classes I'm taking are over, then I'll work on walking to the grocery. Right now, I just don't have time for round trips of at least an hour a half there and back -- according to Google maps it's about a 2 mile walk -- very doable and not an unpleasant walk thanks to tree growth in Midtown, but you need more time than I have between class and work.

My pathetic attempt at relieving guilt is this. I have forsworn the AC in my car, and I am driving around Memphis with the windows down. Yes, I will get every last mile out of that bleeding expensive gasoline.

However, I have found that driving through the city of Memphis with the windows down as an unaccompanied female is apparently an open invitation for the dregs of the Memphis populace to shout lewd comments of a sexually based nature at one. This behavior leaves me bumfuzzled and quite annoyed. It's such a nice addition to my day, to be referred to as some bit of meat, or I think the term I used in a prior post was woman-matter. And, yeah, I've been honked at and yelled at before on walks in city, but for some reason today's just was too much.

And you know, what makes me the maddest is there is very little I can do to stop random people from looking at me as some sort of object intended for their pleasure. I'm boyish already, I don't wear particularly risque clothing anyway and today I was in a regular t-shirt (not that skimpier clothing would be an excuse for street harassers), what is this? (Mind you, I shouldn't be surprised, I've also been hit on when I swear on the Bible I might as well have been in drag.) More "modest" -- in the conservative religion sense of the word -- clothing wouldn't do any good either and in fact might make the situation worse as long, full skirts and feminine tops would just more obviously mark me as someone crammed into the category of female and therefore intended, by some cosmic power, to gratify the male gaze. Perhaps, I could buy some wide Ace Bandages and tape down what little chest I have to begin with, have my hair cut into something that's traditionally masculine, continue wearing the same clothes I do now and see what happens? I could, but I won't, and I should not have to in order to drive or walk around in peace. I also just finished up Chuck Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters -- but that idea is even madder. Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind it makes sense, a radical break from categorization is what I need.


ratbert said...

bumfuzzled -- excellent word. did you invent it?

damn, that is really frustrating. naturally you want to hit back with something scathing but do not want to provoke a psycho. . .must find some happy medium.

WordK said...

I love bumfuzzled and would happily claim it as my own invention, but sadly I didn't. According to it's limited mostly to the southern US.

Yeah...frustrating...that's about right.