Guilty. That’s how I often feel. When there’s no reason to feel guilt, I get annoyed with myself. Ah, regret, guilt’s evil twin.
Today some perverted pig flicked my right butt cheek as I walked back to work after a nice lunch with Dave. Spadina Ave. was sunny and full of pedestrians. One such lunchtime walker decided that it was his right to touch me. I whipped around and yelled, “What the fuck was that?!” His companion turned around but the culprit–the one who should feel guilty but surely does not–completely ignored my useless outburst. In shock, I muttered, “Asshole!” under my breath while a man smoking outside his fur store echoed my sentiments. “Disgusting!”
Yes, disgusting. And yet, somehow I was not just disgusted with the pervert’s behaviour, but was deeply disgusted by my own. Perhaps disgust is too strong of a word. I was disappointed in myself. First, I doubted my perception of the incident. Maybe he just brushed my bum by accident while walking by. When I pushed that silly thought away, I got angry about not chasing the jerk down and speaking my mind. What if he denies it and people think I’m making it up? Or worse, what if he does more than just flick my ass?
There I was, the ardent feminist, a crusader for equality and justice standing by and reaching for my cell phone so I could call my male partner who came to provide comfort. Sigh. Damsel in effin’ distress.
I love this city. I am almost never afraid in Toronto. In fact, when I am away from it, I often pine for the open and safe atmosphere of home that less diverse cities lack. The dream isn’t shattered, but the reality is a little foggier. (Oh, let me mix everything up today! Someone bloody violated my body in broad daylight and walked away to touch someone else without permission!)
Just yesterday while I was cycling with Dave and his family on the Îles-de-Boucherville, I was griping about how the tandem bike we rented reflected the pervasive male dominance of our society as the back seat (i.e., the seat for the non-steering follower) had a slanted pole for “ladies”. These are the kinds of things I notice all the time and complain about with like minded friends and family. I may sweat the supposed small stuff, but really, of all people, I do not need a bigger reminder of how bad things really are in our Western liberal democracy. I am not comfortable. I don’t lie in job interviews about my motivations for going to law school. Social justice and public interest law are not just buzzwords to me.
And no, I am not deluded into thinking that what I experienced today is the same as what the women I was working with on escape plans at the legal aid clinic. But I’m also not going to let anyone (myself included) talk me into believing that unsolicited sexually charged touching is no big deal. It is a big deal. And there’s no way in hell I am feeling guilty about getting angry.
So that’s that. What I do feel justifiably guilty about is not communicating with my dedicated readers (5 of you, on a good day ). Thank you for the warm comments. I owe you all big time! Usually I complain about being busy but I’m actually happy about all this busy-ness. Sure, I can’t say I loved spending the good part of my summer jumping through bar admissions hoops, but it’s nice to not completely crash land. (Yes, I did pass my barrister and solicitor exams. 10 months of articling and I’ll be a full fledged lawyer! Scary thought, eh?)
News about getting through the bar exams successfully came after my little escape to Europe. A cloud of pressure certainly lifted when I saw the word “PASS” on my screen, but it seems the pressure to succeed in my articles has settled in quite nicely. At least I feel motivated. This is good pressure. I’m happy.
It’s a time of transition. Even though I graduated law school (holy crap, I still want to pinch myself), I’m still technically a student of sorts. (Officially, I’m a student-at-law or articling student). And really, who stops being a student of life? (That’s for Carol whose e-mail signature declares her as such.) I am getting paid to learn. How neat is that?
It’s all very exciting to be moving forward. Too bad the technicalities of it all are less than thrilling. Living downtown with my dreamboat in a bohemian dream apartment just down the street from my dream job would be even better if the boxes unpacked themselves.
Thanks for reading, friends. I’ll reward you with some photos from Bavaria and environs soon! Okay, and the jealous ones who will only be pissed off about seeing the photographic evidence of my European romp, I promise to visit your corners of the web. Much love to you all.