Last Saturday, I was walking down the street, MY street, with the five-year-old daughter. We walk past a house where I don’t know the residents, unfortunately a too common occurrence.
In any case, there are about a dozen tween or young teen boys gathered along a stairway near the side of the house, with at least one adult male, when one of the boys yells out “faggot!”
I take a couple steps before I start looking around to see who he’s yelling at.
“Yeah, I’m talking to you!”
At first, I think to to say nothing, but then wheel around and say, “Do you really think that’s appropriate,” and walk away.
Afterwords, I pondered. What was I doing that would make someone that I heretofore had not even noticed refer to me as a bundle of sticks? It probably was my long-sleeve jacket, which I wear even on hot, sunny days like that one lest I get sunburn on my arms. Since the vitiigo, this is a real concern.
I came up with my treppenwitz response: “You are a castrato!” He probably wouldn’t have known what that meant, but to my mind, it was satisfying, in the moment at least, for it would have addressed the fact that he could be “brave” and yell out 30 feet from the street while he was with his pack, knowing my response would be limited while I was with my child. Pretty damn clever of him, too.
So, what would YOU have done? I know it’s a moot point. With the prescription sunglasses I was wearing – good for reading, not distance – I wouldn’t even necessarily recognize him.
If my child weren’t there, maybe my response would have been different.
Or maybe my initial response, to do nothing, was the best?
And I’m peeved more with the adult, who said and did nothing, at least during this brief exchange.