Sunday, May 18, 2008

Power Out

This is cross posted from My Husband Betty's message board. I've paraphrased a couple of the comments of some of the referenced posts in an attempt to tie their thoughts to my comments. I hope I've kept their comments true to their intent.

A few weeks back, the center of the City was shoved into midday darkness when a big transformer was KO'd by a construction worker. At my office, we ran the battery backups down and my laptop was nearly dead, so I sent everyone home. But at my house I pulled out my camping stuff, yep my solar panel and right now I have my laptop and wireless running on sun power.

I wasn't going to post, but since I can't get into the office server, I thought I would share some thoughts. In each instance, the event was almost a non-event, but its funny how serendipity sometime unifies.

About 12 hours ago, I read a couple of posts and their responses, to this article, that dealt with the arrogance of men in assuming that women are not smart enough and have to have things explained to/for them, even though they may be experts in the subject matter. Central to many of the responses was that 'spotting this sort of sexist crap is difficult, that many women may not even notice it, because they're conditioned to just accept being treated as second class citizens. The responses further hypothesized that it may take transitioning to really point out the inequality, to underline it, in bold type, with exclamation points.' This all struck a common nerve in me, how male privilege is commonly expressed in certain fields. As I have said, in some circles, it is much more likely now a days that people I meet do not of my past and, as a result I think, its much more common now a days that I get 'spoken down to'. Not that I can do much about it, or as my sweetie is fond of saying, 'be careful what you ask for!'

Later last evening, my wife had a friend over and I agreed to split, so the two of them could talk privately, taking miss O with me. We went for a bike ride and as we went by one of our neighborhood parks, we noticed a large crowd and miss O suggested that we stop and check it out. It turned out to be the terminus for the march from the university to Take Back the Night, an event to show solidarity in the face of sexual assault. There of course were many women, but there were also many kids. A couple of girls approached miss O and asked if she wanted to play with them, she did. So as I sat, watching the girls run through the park, it dawned on me that the majority of people in attendance were women of color and when one of the speakers mentioned that, in our town, women of color are 5 times more likely to face sexual assault than women of the dominant culture, it really hit home. Perhaps one of the most disturbing points mentioned was how young girls, young girls, miss O's age are now facing this threat. Why, no how can someone so young have to even think about this.

Miss O was having a good time, eating ice cream and hot dogs, running with the girls. We stayed until it was nearly time for her to go to bed and by then she was part of a pack of girls about a dozen strong. I called her out and as we were getting our helmets on, she looked up to me and asked, 'Papi, what is rape, they said I was too young to understand'.

What could I say. I told her to take off her helmet and we need to talk. We did and as I looked into her face, it made me sad to see a little bit of her beautiful innocence disappear.


I went running this morning and from a weather point of view, right now is my most favorite season in which to run. The mornings are slightly cool, giving me a little chill, but within a few blocks, I've warmed up to a comfortable temp, the result of a beautiful balance between temperature, sweat and 5% relative humidity. This was the first morning since last fall that I was able to run in my summer garb, running shorts, sports bra and athletic tee. Yea, its skimpy, but heck its 5 am, I'm still half asleep, over 50, gray headed and dressed to run, nothing else.

So what happens? My annual spring shit with some guy in a beat up old pickup truck (with a chain saw and gas mixed among the beer cans in the bed) following me. Three times, he'd pull to the side of the road, wait for me to pass before starting talk at me and then pulling forward to do it again. The third time he tried, I stopped and pulled out my cell phone. He immediately went over to the left turn lane and took off.

So what is it with men? Why do we have to put up with this crap? Who's dad told their son that this was the way to treat other people? (I'm not really asking, just pissed)

Damn, why does my sweetie have to be so smart.


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