It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…finally!
Snow? Pffth…back up to 70 this week.
I’m just happy to have finally gotten my tree up and decorated. Better late than never!
Haha! Tell the sun to take a break and let you have snow :(
I am an artist with a big mouth who loves creative things and has many passionate opinions.
Dear Caitlin Moran,
Yesterday afternoon I was with my friend and looking through the list of people she follows on Twitter, and your name appeared. I had already heard about you, mostly because your books had been recommended to me. I wondered for a moment if I should follow you too - I’m shy about following celebrities but you’re the type of person someone like me, who likes to think herself a feminist, wouldn’t be ashamed to publically be interested in. My friend, in any case, spoke very highly of you. “And you know,” she told me, “she’s hosting the Q&A of The Empty Hearse BFI event today!”
It was only one more reason to envy you, a massively successful writer only a few years older than me, living a life of highbrow glamour at exclusive events, rubbing shoulders with interesting people. I was about to yield.
Alas, in our Internet age, what a difference a few hours makes.
In a rather spectacular manner, you managed to antagonise an entire fandom made up almost entirely of young, liberal-minded women like me, aka your core readership. How did you accomplish this? On paper, it doesn’t sound like much: you picked an erotic Sherlock fanfic off the Internet and made the stars of the show read an extract aloud for shits and giggles. But while it was most certainly shit, it wasn’t giggles for anyone, and least of all for us.
Last night I took the bus into San Francisco from Sausalito to see the incredible Anna Von Hausswolff perform at the Rickshaw Stop. After the show, I walked a friend over to Civic Center BART, ate a fast food snack, and then headed to the 70/80 Golden Gate Transit bus stop at Mission & 5th. During that time, the battery on my phone died. Bleh. Bad timing. I endured a lot of casual harassment from different men at different points and felt pretty spooked. I waited alone at 5th and Mission between midnight and one o’clock for my Sausalito bus. At one point a leering dude in a sportscar backed up to the bus stop and asked “hey, baby, where you going, can I give you a ride” and when I shook my head, he called me a cunt and peeled off. Which sucked… but you know what was way worse? *Another* guy showed up shortly after that, got WAY closer to me than necessary, looked me up and down, gave me a “hey baby, how you doin’” and, when I was unwilling to engage in conversation with him, became infuriated and wouldn’t leave me alone.
Over the course of five minutes, he threatened me with rape, a beating, and kept trying to lurch closer to me. When I barked “BACK OFF” and raised my fists, he took a couple steps back, but unzipped his pants and started pantomiming taking his dick out while continuing to call me a bitch and a stuck-up ho. “I am going to slap you, bitch. You deserve to get raped. You deserve a dick in your ass. Stuck-up ugly slut. You’re gonna get raped because you’re a bitch and bitches deserve whatever they get.” At one point he made a motion as if he was going for something tucked into the back of his pants. I just kept yelling at him as loudly and aggressively as I could. But I was genuinely scared at that point.
It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. But we were in a brightly lit place, so I decided to stand my ground and keep yelling at him to stay the fuck away from me and hope the bus would arrive soon, which it did. I rushed to it. The doors to the bus opened, and I called to the driver, “this man just threatened to rape and beat me and started to expose himself, please don’t let him on.” Blank stare from the bus driver. My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver “pay this bitch no mind, she’s a crazy-ass prostitute” and laughingly told him, “she been harassing ME”.
I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over. I was stunned. I stood at the head of the bus and kept saying “why aren’t you listening to me? Please call the cops. Don’t let him stay on the bus.” With my harasser sitting right there in the front row, I refused to budge from the front of the bus, holding onto the railing, continuing to ask the bus driver to get him off the bus or call the police.
Harasser: “Sit your ass down, bitch.” Bus driver: stoically doing nothing. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to budge, my harasser got downright jolly with the driver, said “Imma go sit in the back of the bus where I belong now” and they appeared to share a moment of connection over my perceived overreaction. The implication being, I guess, that my response to threats of rape and a beating from a stranger while minding my own business alone at a bus stop in the middle of the night was somehow racist. I was in shock and shaking and continued to hold onto the railing at the front of the bus. The driver eventually ordered me to sit down. So I did. And then asked him: “why aren’t you doing anything? Why did you shake his hand and laugh? That guy threatened to hurt me and rape me. Why would you do that?” He basically ignored my questions. Ignored me.
I sat there, stunned and shaking, for a while, while my harasser continued to yell threats and insults at me from the rear of the bus. A couple of stops later, a vaguely familiar person stepped on board. I noticed he was wearing a DNA Lounge hoodie and said “hey, you work at DNA, don’t you? Hi, I’m Meredith.” “Hi, I’m Mango.” I asked if he had a pen I could borrow, and he did. I asked the bus driver for his name. He wouldn’t give it to me. So I wrote down the number of the bus on a scrap of paper and gave the pen back. And then chatted pleasantly with Mango for the rest of the journey back to Sausalito. Upon exiting the bus, I told the bus drive “that was really not cool, man. This is why women are afraid.” He just stared at me blankly. Didn’t say anything. Drove away. I walked the rest of the way home in daze.
This morning I called the Golden Gate Transit hotline and filed a report. I genuinely do not want to get the driver fired. He seemed young and totally clueless and lacking in empathy, but not actively unkind. I just hope that some sort of protocol adjustment happens. Some kind of conversation where it’s made clear to each and every driver that when a woman begs them to call the cops or to bar an aggressive man from their bus, they should DO THAT.
What happened to me last night is nothing compared to what a lot of women endure, I know. I don’t mean to trivialize anyone else’s experiences by talking about my own. And I realize that public transit drivers probably endure far scarier confrontations themselves from time to time and dread the potential for violence. But I still wanted to mention that this happened publicly, because speaking up seems more constructive than saying nothing.
Bottom line: I’m really glad I didn’t get raped, beaten, or killed while trying to get home alone last night. I’m grateful that I got to hang out with Mango, having a kindly human interaction instead of sitting there alone, feeling subhuman and invisible, for the rest of that bus ride. Thank you, Mango. And all things considered, I’m still very glad I came out for that Anna Von Hausswolff show. She is really special. Her voice is powerful and good and gives me hope. If you like doomy, witchy, ethereal music, you should buy her album Ceremony. It’s gorgeous.
TL:DR — Music heals. Silence is death. Don’t ignore women when they tell you they’re in immediate danger and beg you for help.
And now people will freak out about Martin Freeman.
Time for bed. Wiped out after party and helping finish a couple bottles of wine.