It’s been a while since I have published though I write frequently. To my loyal readers, I owe a huge apology. The following is a trip down the winding road that is now my life…
Following an aging Subaru through the traffic lights I scanned the fading bumper stickers adorning the back. By the time the light changed I knew the occupant’s favorite radio station, the band they follow, their views on abortion and the environment; political statements, family proclamations, and personal preferences revealed the occupants views on everything from global warming to children’s achievements. As the car turned right, I had a picture of that woman in my mind.
Though I have never been one for voicing my opinions on my bumper, it did make me ponder the latest movement sweeping the Internet – The “ME TOO” campaign to raise awareness of women who have been sexually harassed, in all forms from catcalls to rape and incest.
In over 60 years of living, I can attest we have made enormous strides in leveling the playing field between the sexes. There is still work to be done but I question this latest tactic. Judging by the flood of responses from victims, would it be more telling to hear from those who don’t feel they have suffered indignities?
Perhaps it is the fact that it has taken 60+ years to get here; and the changes we have wrought have also given birth to social media as a voice. To quote a very wise young woman, “Hopefully the campaign doesn’t die a hashtag death when the next cause comes along.”
If this generation cannot afford to quit their jobs and march on Washington, perhaps there is another way. I highly doubt a march would be more than a press event in this political climate anyway. We agreed the ‘movement,” to steal a phrase from the pre-Internet ’60s, must begin on a local level, a personal commitment to reach out tangibly to those who share our immediate space. We’ve been given social media to anonymously share our voice with the world, how do we go beyond the dialog stage?
The change we strive for in small, positive ways is not going to happen tomorrow or maybe even for this generation of 20-somethings. It is being fought so the children watching the struggle can have a more open and consensual life style. That consent should extend beyond sex to the very fiber of how we live.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am one of the many. Humans are flawed, both men and women suffer indignities on others.
When a young female school teacher seduces a teenaged boy we take little notice of the consequences to the child; chastising the adult with less force than were she a man. The hew or cry is louder for abused females and their predators. Humans are flawed.
In 1976 as a college student I attended a diversity seminar. A woman I held in high regard sexually assaulted me. I was hurt and confused.
Every stage of my working life was marred by sexual exploitation to some degree. I was indignant, hurt and confused.
After being raped in Trinidad in 1980, I went to work as a groom at the racetrack. The paralyzing fear I had experienced could only be overcome by facing it down, head-on. I was not only the token Caucasian, I was the only woman among a hundred black men.
Please don’t think I am painting myself as a hero here. I’ve just lived long enough to have lots of stories. It is merely my belief that if you act, you can create change. You can make more of a difference than a bumper sticker.
More stories to tell…
When you’re cantering down a dirt road in October. The air is crisp, the sun warms your face and the faint scent of equine sweat wafts up at you. The leaves swirl in your wake and your partner is just behind you. Suddenly the phone chimes and you both reach for your device. You simultaneous shout “HELLO” then realize you ‘butt-dialed’ each other’s phones. Two silly old ladies out for a ride.
The wet box…a guest post from Alice
Things are settling from frenzied and uncomfortable to a routine I can live with.
SHE disappears into the tiny room, then into the wet box. I settle on the rug just outside the box and wait. The purpose of this daily exercise is lost on me. SHE emerges wet and drippy. The rug becomes dotted with wet spots that quickly becomes cold and uninviting. We had a room with the wet box but it was so much larger that she closed the door and I could only bed down outside and wonder.
There are things I miss; the large outside wooden space with a cozy chair under the balsam-smelling tree, with the birds flocking to the feeders. I have an outside space here. It is high above the road and affords me a view of the busy world. I miss my trunk in front of the wide glass space that afforded a view of the front yard and long road down to the big road. If anyone ventured up our road, I was on it! Visitations were rare. The men with the loud machines who made the grass short, the occasional brown-truck man who left boxes, HER vehicle was always the best arrival.
We walk a lot. In the old place we walked once a day. Here we walk at least twice a day, plus have outside time at the very start and very end of every day. There are so many houses and dogs and things to explore here. Birds float on the big water and cars slow to raise their hands to HER. SHE smiles a lot and walks me as far as I want.
I miss the little one. She pissed HER off when she allowed/brought/encouraged the live things to come into the house. “Outside Toys DO NOT COME INSIDE!” she would yell. I didn’t mind having something to chase but it wasn’t worth the upset to HER. But for the most part, the little one was comforting. She wasn’t one to bother me or demand interaction, but she was a warm, purring body on the bed in the winter. Tonight SHE came home singing the song SHE always sang for the little one – the song that called the cat in from the woods… I hope SHE saw the little one and all is well.
Speaking of the bed, can I just say, it was much easier to access before. Ever since we moved to this house with the stairs and the many cars going by and the things I have to keep track of, my front legs are a constant reminder that I am no longer a puppy. Getting in and out of the truck, launching oneself on to the bed and those pesky acorns that line the road, have reduced my ability to get where I want to be on my own. SHE tries to help but honestly, the indignity of requiring help makes every leg go rigid and I think my weight doubles.
Thwack! Rattle, tattle, rattle, tattle, rattle, plink! Acorns dance off the metal roof. When we walk down the road, Alice and I hear them assaulting other cabins on the lake and showering the woods. The docks are being pulled, the lake is racing out of the open dam and receding daily. Water weeds shrivel in the sun and heat. And yet, the loons remain. She is the bossy one. Whereareyou! whereareyou! Answerme!!!
He sang his heart out tonight as the moon rose over the lake. “Whoo Hoodly Dood? Whoo Hoodly good!” The lone Loon who didn’t leave with the others, the one I see floating, drifting and fishing.
A fly-fisherman was at the boat landing when Alice and I passed tonight. We commented on the weather, the fishing, the season and surrounding areas that have seen flooding. On our way back Alice stopped to check out his extra tackle, piled neatly on the edge of the launch. “So I’m concerned about the lone loon that is hanging around.”
I run every day and I haven’t heard a Loon in 10 days.”
This is my first season on this lake and there is one loon that is still here.”
“It’s late for Loons. They molt then can’t fly when the lake freezes.”
“It concerns me.”
There is a group that rescues Loons every year who don’t make the date to leave. Look on the State web site if you want to know more.”
Thank you. And good luck with the fishing!”
We walked on and several hours later – after dinner, sunset and as the moon was rising, I heard my lone Loon. “Whoo hoody good? Whooo Hooody Doooo?