What was it like to be you in 2016?
This morning at 10 AM, the City Department of Public Works rolled up on our street to butcher yet another neighborhood tree. Right next to my parked car. My car, by the way, is an art car covered in pink triangles and a big pink cat.
I pulled my coat over my yellow & pink polka dotted pajamas, stuffed my seat into my slippers and walked out. I asked why they didn’t post signs about the tree assassination so we could move out cars.
Skippy Doo, Junior Ranger, came sauntering over to me in his official Department of Public Works zipper hoodie to ask me about my problem. I explained and he assured me that my car hadn’t been damaged. I reiterated that I was not suggesting my car had been damaged, but that tree murder without advance notice was not respectful. Then I pointed out that they couldn’t guarantee tree disbursal with reasonably accuracy given the arc of the tree over the parking spaces.
He didn’t seem to be properly trained in community engagement. He is however gifted with the condescending white guy smirk that younger men inhabit before they realize its socially acceptable to go full on lurking menace when a fat middle aged queer white woman confront you in her pajamas about how you do your job.
Then guy #2 in the tree cup 20 feet up in the air holding a running chainsaw joined the conversation. He objected to my phrase “you couldn’t be bothered to put up a fucking note” – man that sent him into outer space. He started screaming at me in full post-military mode about my language. Nothing says civility and customer service like screaming at a woman while looming 20 feet above her with a chainsaw running.
I know these guys. I grew up with them in West Mifflin, but their type lives all over this region – blue collar, former military white guys who cannot abide uppity women and definitely don’t want us to use curse words in their direction. I have a place whether in society or in the workplace.
They go to mass, but they are more #TeamBenedict than #TeamFrancis. They have side gigs to pay for Catholic school and probably don’t report all of the income, but that’s just man stuff. Not like those welfare moochers and scoff-laws living off food stamps.
They resent me for existing and they elected Donald Trump and even though they have a public union, health insurance and a pension – they are resentful and bitter.
It was an unpleasant moment. Two of my female neighbors came out to stand with me. One moved her parking cones for me. The other agreed with me that this would not happen in nearby upscale white neighborhoods. She also advised me that I need to get used to the fact that Trump was elected.
So I filed a complaint with OMI, including a full confession that I used the phrase “post a fucking note” as my contribution to the escalation. I asked for the department to post these things. Apologies won’t happen. I also suggested intimidating residents by leaning over them with chainsaws is not a great idea. So that was a healthy and constructive attempt to respond to a microagression which could be tied to larger anti-social behaviors, right?
So this really does sum up my life
- I drive Laura to work every single morning wearing my pajamas. Usually, they match. I try to get out of them by noon, but that’s not always happening – especially when its chilly and I don’t have anywhere to go. My range of places that I will go in pajamas widens when I can wear a coat. This year, I’m hoping to add “Eat N Park breakfast for one” to my repetoire.
- I don’t take people’s parking spaces. Its a tight and tense issue on our block. We can’t park in back during bad weather because our gate freezes. But even while chainsaw weilding men loom over me, I ask before I move the cone. I get that the cone is more than a cone.
- White men being jaggy in my neighborhood piss me off and remind me of all the gentrification issues that have swept through the region of late, or at least got a front seat table.
- I blame EVERYONE for Trump. That won’t change soon. Stop asking.
- I’m scared to drive the pink triangle art car out into the rural regions. And I’m ashamed that I’m scared.
- People who don’t appreciate pensions are tupid, stupid people. Stupid.
- I still file complaints. I talk to the manager. I don’t swear at people, but I’m not afraid of using strong language to make a point. I don’t stiff folks on their tips.
And then I blog about the things. Because keeping a chronicle counts.