This is a picture of a guy on the bus to Waltham last night who was standing in the aisle in front of his girlfriend, who was sitting a couple of seats over from me.  I didn’t know he was there until he got loud enough for me to hear him.  I had been looking out the window on my side of the bus, and I heard him talking loudly about rowing and some girls laughing.  I turned back around in my seat and saw him making sexually exaggerated movements of rowing a boat.  I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, although maybe I should have; that’s a joke that might have been made before the conglomerate happened, but I guess it has more significance now because of how women are being degraded.

He kept talking and then he started touching his nose a lot.  I took his picture.  He said “Why did you take my picture?”  I ignored him.

He leaned over and said “Hello.  Hello.  Hello.”  I ignored him.

He took a few steps and stood in front of me.  I put my camera in its case and then in my pocket, figuring that the next thing he was going to do would be to threaten me or my camera.

He continued to hassle me.  The bus driver said something to him to get him to back off, “Hey,” I think.  The guy replied “Is she deaf?”

I continued to ignore him.  He put himself in my line of vision and made slashing movements across his throat, saying “That’s not cool.”  I ignored him.

He said “You’re lucky I don’t rip the camera out of your hand and break it.”

I ignored him; that is the point at which I would have mentioned the police or called the police, before the meeting this week when I was told that my housing was in jeopardy at the shelter.  I thought that the only thing I could do was ignore him and hope that he didn’t attack me.

He went back to stand in front of his girlfriend.  Then he took out his phone and started taking pictures of me.  He took several pictures, with a flash.  I finally looked over and said to him that I’d only taken one picture of him and he had taken a lot of me.  He laughed.  Some other people around him laughed, too, the foreign girls who were sitting on the seat across from me and a couple of people in the seats behind him.

I’ve said this before; the laughter of cruel and/or ignorant people doesn’t mean anything to me.  However, I don’t want to be abused.

He kept taking pictures of me; a woman behind him said “Smart move.”

I turned back in my seat and stared out the window on the other side of the bus.  He kept taking pictures of me and saying “You’re lucky I don’t just break your camera.  If you were a dude I would.”

He kept taking pictures and said “You’re lucky my girlfriend’s pregnant or (some threat).”

He then said “Next stop, please,” to the bus driver, and he, his girlfriend, and the foreign girls left the bus at the mall exit.

When I got to Waltham and was walking to the shelter, police car #448 was at the intersection of Main Street and Moody Street when I was walking up Main Street.

When I was a few blocks away from the shelter, police car #433 drove up to the corner of a cross street to the street that the shelter is on.  I didn’t take pictures of them because I’m still in the process of doing things that the social worker and director of the shelter have said that I have to do to be able to stay at the shelter.

It’s legal to take pictures on public transportation; it’s legal to take pictures in public.  That’s why I let the guy take my picture.  I don’t think it’s legal to try to annoy someone, though, and I think that the number of pictures he took was excessive, considering that he had been trying to provoke me for a while and I’d taken one picture of him in response to that and not even verbally confronted him about his behavior.  I hadn’t done anything to him; I hadn’t tried to annoy him or make slurs about him, and I had done nothing that would lead a reasonable person to think that he or anyone else on the bus was in danger from me.  I don’t think that the rest of the way that he treated me was legal.  I don’t think that he should have been allowed to harass and threaten me and I don’t think that there are supposed to be police officers stalking me, lying to me and about me, trying to provoke me, and trying to convince me and others that I’m mentally unbalanced instead of the truth, which is that I’m being bullied and sexually harassed.

Copyright L. Kochman, October 12, 2012 @ 5:13 p.m.