31 July 2008

Summer of Discontent

Let me just warn all of you that this is a long, rambling post. I apologize. Come back to it if you don't have the time, but please. Come back.

This summer has just been off. With the twins' potty training and J-man becoming ever more mobile, this has been my most difficult summer on record. I'm terrified to go anywhere outside the house because one or both of the twins may pee themselves because of being too scared to use a public bathroom and J-man may go ape for not being able to run around. So here I am, at home, all the time, watching the news.

The news. The fabulousness that is the news. Murdered mothers. Babies cut from wombs. The never. ending. war. Oil prices. Food prices. Bank foreclosures. It's enough to make us as a society snap. And I think we have. This summer.

Batman has the right idea. If you're going to fight for justice, for the oppressed, and battle the wrong-doer, do it in disguise. That way, when you come out the other end looking like a dumb ass, no one can identify you.

In addition to being a coal miner's granddaughter, I'm also a policeman's daughter. My father was a patrolman for 22 years. Over the years, I've heard about a few of his more hair-raising experiences. I don't know if it's having his shadow over me or that I watched too much T.J. Hooker as a child, but I hate it, despise it, when I see someone being wronged. When I see someone acting like a complete douche bag, expecting everyone to bow and scrape in their wake and give them extra anything, simply because they feel entitled to have everything faster, sooner, better than everyone else because they feel they're better than everyone else, it seriously pisses. me. off.

I used to suffer from really bad road rage but when I saw the consequences of that in the media, I stopped flipping people off and honking my horn. I now mutter under my breath. Over ten years ago, the Ty-man and I were leaving a local mall when we saw mall security racing across the parking lot after a man who was running like hell. We stopped the car and chased the guy down, holding him until mall security got there. That was a good feeling. Since then, I've kept my mouth shut every time I've been needlessly cut off, nearly rear-ended, broken in front of in line, or treated with a callousness I didn't deserve because I've seen what can happen to you if you shoot off your mouth to someone who is "entitled." But last Wednesday, that all ended.

Ty-man and I went to see Dark Knight and the earliest showing gave us 90 minutes of waiting. As we left the theater ticket window and walked toward the parking lot, we witnessed a woman in a short, compact car slowly passing the front of the theater. Behind her was an irate man, jerkily breaking behind her and gesturing. He finally swerved around her, cutting her, and traffic in the opposing lane, off while his significant other calmly got out of the passenger side of the car. After she got out, he sat.

I had had it. Yet again, some idiot thought he was entitled to two more feet of space and all the wait time in the world while everyone else waited on him and had to go out of their way to get around him. The whole scene played out and I decided I was going to do something about it. So, I walked over to his side of the car and loudly knocked on the window.

Me: Sir, did you know you’re blocking traffic?

Him: Shut up, you stupid c@#$!

Me: Oh, that’s really original.

And that’s when it happened. He spit. At me. In my eye. And drove off quickly, nearly running over my right foot.

I was stunned. Absolutely stunned. I turned and watched him drive away and read his license plate number. I picked up my phone to call the police and looked to my right to see Ty-man. Halfway across the parking lot. Embarrassed by what I had done. I yelled, “I’m calling the police!” and he responded, “No! You started it! What are they going to do?”

My husband was embarrassed. And wanted to leave. I was stunned. And wanted to do something, but unsure of what. I put my phone in my purse and followed, wiping the spit from my eye and off my cheek.

As we drove to Barnes & Noble, I become more distraught. By the time we got to the bookstore, I was wrung out. I went to the women’s bathroom and found myself in a stall, sobbing quietly so the woman and her child two stalls down wouldn’t hear me. All I could think was That man spit at me. He spit at me. He spit at me. Ty did nothing. He called me a c@#$ and he spit at me. Ty was ashamed. He didn’t stand up for me. I’m alone. I’m all alone. No one will stand up for me. He spit at me. He spit at me. Over and over and over again. I calmed down and went to the quietest corner of the store – the paranormal section, wouldn't you know - and there I sat, back to the corner, crammed as small as I could be in that one corner, staring at the carpet and a book I had picked up. Ty eventually came over and we left. Not a word was spoken. We returned to the theater for the movie and as we sat in the darkened theater, Ty said he was sorry for not doing anything. I didn’t respond except to start crying again.

I didn’t fully process the movie. It was a good movie, that much I registered. But all I could think was what ran through my head at the book store. And that I was an idiot for doing what I did. That I deserved what I got. That I was an embarrassment. That I risked my life for something as stupid as that. That he could have some sort of disease that I now have because of the spit in my eye. And I cried through the movie. I’m sure the people around me thought I was crying over Heath Ledger. We left for a silent drive home and a silent preparation for bed. All I knew was that I couldn’t close my eyes because all I could see was him spitting at me and I knew that I couldn’t get into bed with a man who didn’t stand beside me.

When Ty discovered I had gone downstairs, he followed, and what I said to him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say to him. Ever. I had to tell him that he hurt me, and that his action spoke as loudly as the man who spit at me, and that what had happened to me had changed me. Forever. Now I know why no one responds to a woman who cries “Rape!” or to a person who screams “Murder!” because a simple response to some asshat entitling himself to two more feet of pavement got me something I didn’t want. It gave me the realization that I’m a woman who can’t defend herself against anyone, with no one to come to her defense.

Ty profusely apologized. He called the police. We filed a report and forwarded the license plate number that is burned onto my synapses for all time. I’ve received a call back that the case is being followed, but that it’s my word against his, with no witnesses. I was asked why I didn't call the doctor or call the police when it happened. My only response was When I realized my husband was embarrassed, I just shut down. I wanted to hide.

I’ve told Ty how I feel and I’ve been very angry this last week. I'm notorious for hanging on to emotions and memories and this will take a while to move past. I'm angry with myself for doing something so foolish. Angry with the man who responded the way he did. Angry at Ty for responding the way he did. And angry with a society that feels entitled to everything. Including the right to spit at one another literally and figuratively and to kill each other over nothing. I've been short and temperamental with my children who don't deserve a mother who yells all the time. I want this resolved. I want that man to know me and know what he's done to me, know that I've learned my lesson well and know that that one action degraded me as a human being.

24 comments:

Michael B. said...

Der, Ive read your post. A couple of times. I feel your outrage against fucktards. They plague me as well.

What happened to you is gross. Boarderline dangerous. Getting spit on is nasty and humiliating. I've been there. Done that.

I want to understand something that was not spelled out in your post. When your rage called you to action - did you communicate to Ty-man what your intentions were? or like me in my last fit of rage - go numb with disbelif and simply find yourself with your hands around another mans throat holding him over a 3 story balcony? er. I mean standing at the door knocking?

The reason I ask this particular question is because I do not believe you understand how a man's mind works in these scenarios.

If on one hand - you had told Ty what you were going to do - a cooler head may have prevailed - as my kisti has done to me. He would have protected you in that way.

On the other hand - if it just suddenly happened. A sort of suprise comes can come over you. You just look and watch - unable to act for a moment - and then the moment is gone. Finished. Ended. And you can't get it back. There is nothing else to do.

Other emotions come with extreme situations. We don't know why. We don't know how to stop them. Embarrasment, nervousness, laughing etc.... But simply stated, most of us have never been in enough peril to condition ourselves to react correctly in intense - quick confrontations.

Example.

My father and I went to see Toombstone - (Val Kilmer) in chattanooga tennessee. We sat down. A group of kids - high school at best. 5 of them. sat down behind us with liquor bottles and beer - raising hell. not hiding their drinking. My father turns around and says you boys need to be quite or leave - we want to watch the movie. We recv'd fuck you's - eat me's - blah blah....a few mins later as the movie ends. We stand up and WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM! STARRS..........
Breaking Glass....
Warm Salty taste.

5 boys bludgen me and my father with wild turkey bottles in the middle of Hamilton Place Theaters.

My father is lying on the ground.
I cant see out of my left eye.

400 people in that theater see this. NO ONE DID ANYTHING! NOTHING! NADA! ZIP! Why?
they froze.

Wouldnt even get out of my way when I pursued them.

they got away.

That day changed me.

Here's the perspective I want you to ponder.
I tell you all of this because I do not believe your man FAILED to protect you. I believe its possible you left his protection.

I believe if Ty-man were confronted with a situation that threatened you or your children he would die trying to keep you from harm.

Don't confuse freezing with his desire to keep you safe. Dont confuse a lack of confrontation experience with a lack of caring.

And don't let a difficult season in your life aid you in creating lasting emotions that are not true.

Ty-man would give Life and Limb to keep you from harm. And as a father and husband myself - I am sure of that.

As for me - my run in with thugs cause me to become ever vigiliant. I will no longer confront stupid people. But if a stupid person confronts me. The never ending loop of the toombstone night still plays in my head. I will act first. I will not let the stupid people hurt me again.

That is....if I don't freeze.

I guess this response in a defense of the capabilities of your husband. Do not allow yourself to think that he didn't want to protect you. Because it's just not true. You were attacked by a f'tard. The f'tard is the one who breached the barrier. The f'tard is the one that you must deal with in your head.

DO not let me f'tard affect your relationship with your husband.

oh and btw - when ty-man pays off the right person to get the home address of said f'tard; I'll bring the monkey wrenches and blow torch. oh yeah. I call shotgun.

-mb

HEATHER said...

Heather, honey I am so sorry this happened to you.
Did you go to the doctor for blood tests?
The anger you get at injustices must be a Mountaineer thang. Everyone in my family has it.
You know, how I want to just grab any random, poor oppressed women I encounter and tell them they don't have to take it.
I don't know what to say except to say I hope you and Ty-Man will be ok. If you need someone to listen, I'm here.
As far as the kiddo's and the peeing, just be sure they potty before you leave the house. I used the dreaded pull-ups when we left the house, and just made sure that I kept a close eye on Paddy when we were out(I know this is harder with twins), and we didn't stay gone too long either. Another thing that might help them to not be scared is if you take them to the ladies room and you pee too. That really worked with Paddycake, when he would see me go pee, then he would have his turn to pee. LAWD-there is NO privacy when you've got little ones! LOL!!
((HUGS))

RiverPoet said...

Heather, my friend, I feel your pain. I feel like I've given up, long ago, on trying to exact some justice in the world. When I tried, I was always the one to get hurt. And the person I was protecting? Not only ungrateful but denied that she was in any situation that required my protection. So yeah, the world beats us down that way. It isn't logical.

As for the spitting, I'd definitely see a doctor. Hep C, TB, HIV. You could have been exposed to anything.

Don't be mad at Ty-man for too long, darlin'. I'm sure he was completely freaked out by what played out in front of him. He wants you to be safe, and he saw it as you putting yourself in danger. Where would he be without you? And what would he have been against a crazy man with an automatic weapon (a car)? Would you have really wanted him to put himself or you in grave danger because the guy was driving like an a*hole? Probably not.

I'm sorry that the world sucks so much. As I heard a pastor say recently, we live in a sickened creation. We are far from the idyllic Garden of Eden. It's sad, but it's true. It seems that the longer we evolve on this planet, the crazier we get.

Please keep yourself safe, girl. What if that guy had had a gun? Where would Ty-man and the kids be now? I know you hate injustice. I do, too. We just can't fight it alone.

Love ya - D

Bucky said...

I'm sure that Ty-man didn't think it was going to play out the way that it did.

He was probably more stunned than anything. I know I would have been.

I know there are crazies everywhere, but we seem to have fewer of them in WV. Perhaps it's time for a change of scenery for you and your family.

Avitable said...

You are not degraded as a human being. The guy who did that is a piece of shit, and realize that Ty might not really have understood exactly what was happening as the events rapidly occurred.

Do not let this affect who you are, because you're a wonderful, smart, funny person who hates injustice, and that is not a bad thing!

And I'm with you on this summer being off. I'm hoping the fall will bring something different in the wind.

Miss Britt said...

Oh honey I feel you. I do.

And I understand that when you want to stand up for something - it's an instinct that can't be ignored. It's not FAIR. It's not RIGHT.

I can't understand why other people don't get that. My husband can't understand why I feel that way either.

You are not stupid. Or foolish. Or alone.

But you are strong and smart and brave and you stand up for the underdog.

That is rare, baby. A rare gift and burden all at the same time.

Willie G said...

I am so sorry that you had this experience. I also know that you are a bundle of emotions and swirling "what ifs."

As you sort through your inner demons please remember a few things that have helped me deal with difficulties in this crazy life.

First, nothing you think, say or do now will change the events of the past. What was done, is done, relegated to history forever more.

Second, we cannot control the actions or behavior of other people, we can only control our response to their actions.

You said that you were degraded by what this man did to you. That was his intention. He wanted to degrade you. He wanted to demonstrate that he had no regard for you or your opinion or your desire for justice. However, his action is only degrading if you apply that judgement to it. You can choose to label it in a different manner. Call it what it was, but don't give it power over your life or your core being. It was nasty. It was disgusting. It was vile. It was anti-social, etc. etc. etc. But it did not change who you are. It did not make you a lesser person. Hurt your feelings? Yes. Shock you? Yes. Disgust you? Yes. Tear down your character? Hell No!

Don't let this asshole win. Stand up and declare yourself to be in charge of who you are, and who you will be.

Love your husband and your beautiful children and be the beautiful gift to them that they know and love.

This too shall pass.

{{{HUGS}}}

Employee No. 3699 said...

Long comments here, so I'll keep mine short. If you let this interfere with your life, that fucktard won. You need to get past it and concentrate on the really important things, your family.

P.S. My summer's been off kilter too.

Narcoleptic said...

Hei, the feeling's got to leave you reeling for a while, but I certainly don't see how it's going to degrade you.
If anything, you learnt something about yourself, people, and your husband that you wouldn't have otherwise.
Living in India that I am right now, these things happen everywhere, however spitting hasn't really caught on here, but exploitation at the core of the system leaves us feeling worse than a bunch of rodents.

It's good you could write about it and you found a way to put your feelings out here. That is one thing that probably helps. And with all your wonderful friends here there is no place better to steal a smile.

Whitenoise said...

Wow, powerful experience. Very unpleasant but both you and your husband have learned from this and will come out of it as stronger people.

Ok, Where Was I? said...

Sorry that happened to you. He's a disgusting pig (obviously). I totally understand every single reaction you had to all of this. I too hate seeing those types of petty, stupid demonstrations of entitlement. And they're everywhere. And I also hang on to things too long. I hope you can let it go so you feel better.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I am glad you reported it. And I am sorry that you and Ty have had this shakeup in the foundation of your relationship.

As for being told that "you left his protection" holy fuck don't get me started. Besides the fact that that statement is up for cultural interpretation, when the hell did we ever sit down and have our husbands tell us the conditions upon which they would protect us? Utter. Fucking. Bullshit.

If Michael B will only protect his SO under certain conditions, that is their boat to row. Not yours. You are absolutely allowed to be disappointed in Ty. Hell, he might be disappointed in you for your actions. Marriage is about expectations and the execution of those expectations, and the two of you need to work at getting back on the same page. I am sure you will work past it. I am sure your relationship will be changed. I hope it is for the better. Sending you love and healing, my dear.

Gypsy said...

This summer has sucked shit.

I'm so sorry about what happened, and about Ty not sticking up for you. I bet he's had a rude awakening just as you have.

Be good to yourself, dear. {hugs}

Molly's Mom said...

So glad I'm not the only one who has felt like this summer has been off. Society is truly getting out of hand, and I'm sick of it. I am also one that holds onto my anger (probably too long sometimes) and have had to curb my road rage - mostly because I used to live near Detroit and, well, didn't feel safe expressing my rage anymore. I'm trying really hard to bring it under control, more so now that I'm a parent (and don't want to have a stroke).

What that guy did to you absolutely enrages me. I hate that word anyway (as most women do) and the fact that he SPIT on you is unreal. I can't even fathom how you felt afterwards - well, yes I can, but it hurts to think about it. I'm very, very glad that you came clean to Ty - he needed to know how you felt - and that you reported the dickhead. Here's hoping they actually pursue finding him. And I seriously hope the ass doesn't have kids.

Love you. Sending hugs!

Tuli said...

As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Your experience sucked but you stood up for an injustice.

And for that I thank you.

Donna said...

I'm sorry this happened to you and it's sad to say, but I often approach expecting this worse - such as this - from most people.

I really don't know what to say and I really wish I had words of wisdom. I think Michael did a fine job with his comment in summarizing what may or may not have gone through Ty-man's head.

Hypethetically, if I'd walked up to confront some one without my husband's knowledge I would do so without expectations for/from his- mostly because I know he hates confrontation.
I also know if some guy hit me or got physical in any way, he would be at my side without question.
I can't say the same for spitting ... not sure why there's a difference but I'm going to assume it's because there's not physical/outward harm being done.

That being said, I know if all this ever played out for me as it did for you, I would have responded the same way. With the tears. With the heated words with my husband. All of it.

I hope you can patch this up soon. As always, I'm just an e-mail away.

Oh, and the fear to go anywhere outside of your own house, I'm so there, like, all the time. It's those damn cloth diapers - they don't hold like the Hoover Dam.

Jenn said...

I hear you...I often am the one that wants to stand up for the "right thing" or react when someone has done something unfair, and my husband, who prefers to avoid confrontations won't stand behind me, and instead shushes me and tells me to just forget about it...it drives me CRAZY!!

Asshats will be asshats, no matter what you say to them. They are generally so selfish and self important that they couldn't give two shits about anyone but themselves. Glad you ended up calling the cops though.

Hugs...feel better soon.

That Chick Over There said...

Oh fuck me. This is awful. All of it.

I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Beth said...

dude....that was harsh! I hate asshats like that. Watch out, though, Ty may go postal on the next one and you will be visiting him in his orange jumpsuit. Be careful out there!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Everybody - Thank you so very much for your wonderful words of support. I battled for a week over whether to post about this or not, but I finally decided that this blog is, in its own way, my form of therapy that costs me nothing but a few minutes each day and pays me back in the form of friends. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Michael, I'll let you know about the monkey wrenches and blow torch raid. May take you up on that.

Thanks again. Kisses, hugs, and love. I'll let you all know how this mess turns out. It may be a while before even I know the ending.

A Free Man said...

Wow. I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that. And I don't blame you for being emotional, angry or anything else.

The civilty, manners that we used to hold dear are just gone. And the people that do the right thing, what you did in this case, are fewer and further between. So it just gets worse.

I hope the rest of the summer gets better for you. Keep doing the right things and ultimately you'll get back what you sow. And so will the asshole that spit at you.

MommyCosm said...

Your title pretty much describes my summer too.

Spitting on someone is so WRONG. What is this guy, a 5 year old?!?! What a fuckstick.

I'm sorry that happened. Your actions truly did not warrant it. I would have done/said the same thing.

I came late to the game and will avoid repeating everyone else. WOW, some of your male readers are SO articulate about their thoughts/feelings. Listen to them.

I don't know anything about astrology, but I'm hoping the eclipse tonight brings a change in energy...as you know, things have been just plain OFF this summer up here too.

Muskrat said...

wow...how awful. did you ask your dad to phone in a favor and at least get a name?

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Muskrat - I would have except Dad passed away in 1998 and he was a policeman in WV. So even his old contacts probably couldn't help me with GA info.