November 1, 2012
I’m at the Public Internet Center in Waltham. Out of all of the computers in this room, a woman decided to sit a few computers away from me. Then she started to cough loudly. I said “How about you don’t do that while I’m here?” She said, “Don’t do what, all I did was cough.” I said “Are you trying to imply that my vagina smells?” She said “I said nothing of the sort. You’re crazy. I’m going to call the police.”
How can I be the one who’s crazy if she’s abusing me and all I’m doing is saying that I don’t want to be abused and asking her if she means what everyone knows she does mean by it?
Crazy means that you don’t know and/or you don’t care what the reality is; I’m not confused about the reality of what she was doing, and I don’t want to be abused.
The guy who’s running the Internet Center today walked over and said “Chill out, guys.” I said “Please don’t use that phrase. Everyone knows what that means. I go through this all day, and I’m astonished that there are still people who think that they need to add to what I deal with all the time. She’s a total stranger to me, and I don’t know you. I’m sitting here doing absolutely nothing to either of you or to anyone else here.”
He said “I apologize.”
The woman said “Why are you apologizing to her? I’m the one that you should be apologizing to.”
He apologized to her.
She said, about me, “She’s crazy, and I’m going to call the police.”
She’s still been coughing.
Now, she’s gone into the office and is speaking to someone else.
It seems to me that she sat near me so that she could harass me, and now she’s trying to get me in trouble because I objected to her abuse of me.
I don’t think that anyone should have apologized to her. I don’t think that she should call the police about me. If she does call the police, I don’t think that they should help her with whatever her unreasonable request is.
How is it not sexual harassment to do something to try to imply to someone that the person’s vagina smells, and to do that in a hostile, degrading and disruptive way that invades the person’s personal space and tells everyone in a room, on a bus, in a train compartment, or on both sides of the street for a block that that’s what you’re trying to say? How is that not sexual harassment, how is it not abusive, why am I almost always the one who gets in trouble for objecting to it rather than it being the person who is aggressively harassing me being the one who gets in trouble for it, and why is this still happening?
Copyright L. Kochman, November 1, 2012 @ 2:43 p.m.