2 moments from this week saddened me and have been weighing on me.
The first: I stopped at a Target store after work one evening to pick up my prescriptions. I was wearing a pencil skirt, blouse, heels, etc — I looked out of place, which is to say that I looked wealthier than most shoppers. I was walking down an aisle that had a man and two girls, maybe his daughters, who were about 8-10 years old. The man glanced my direction and then glanced away quickly. Just as I was about to pass by, one of the little girls ran out in front of me (she was playing with her sister). And the man violently grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her out of my way, yelling, “Why don’t you listen to me?”
What experiences has this man had that prompted that reflexive response? To harm his daughter because a well-dressed stranger was momentarily inconvenienced? What are his daughters learning in that moment, about being female or about being human or about class in our country?
The second: I was walking our dog around my boyfriend’s neighborhood early in the morning. In Minnesota, most people are friendly with their pets and other pets — kind of the way that smokers are friendly with one another (i.e., I don’t need to know your name or who you are, you ask for a cigarette and I’ve asked for a cigarette before and it’s no skin off my back, really, so I hand you a smoke and hold out my lighter). Dog people stop with their dogs and talk without ever exchanging names. I rounded a corner and there was a woman walking a doberman, and as soon as our dogs saw one another, they got frantically happy. As the woman and I were exchanging “hellos,” her dog lunged hard and ran toward us, pulling her forward with force. She was overweight and when she fell, she fell hard onto her wrist. I ran her direction and sat down where she was to see if she was okay. She was shaken, and her wrist was bleeding, but she was able to move it fine. I stayed there and talked awhile until she was laughing, smiling, ready to stand. When we stood, she apologized (for what?) and thanked me for stopping.
So, again, what experiences has she had that prompted her to apologize for her own pain? And to thank a stranger for stopping when she is hurt? Who would keep walking?
Read each story here:http://vogue.cm/XSNWEq