metro terrorism: a dc street harassment story.

Cross posted from Freedom Fighter:

it’s 2pm. middle of the day.  December 22nd. you know, a time when most folks are in an all around festive mood. i am on my way back to the office on the blue line metro, coming from a client meeting. if you know anything about dc’s metros, you know those four seats at the end of each side of the train. i’m sitting in the front row. observe exhibit a:

i am only moderately aware of my surroundings. i have my headphones in. but the train is very crowded. there are people all around, sitting and standing. i am paying a modest level of attention to the people in front of me and no attention to the single row of passengers right behind me. then I feel a tap on my left shoulder. i immediately whip around, annoyed, because i didn’t pause my iPod, and i may miss my favorite part of  “being alive” from “company.” to my surprise, man is staring back at me looking very impatient.

he says “I was calling you but you weren’t answering, can i talk to you for a minute?” i respond with a calm “no. and you shouldn’t touch people you don’t know. i’m not interested.” he immediately starts screaming at me. he tells me that he has schizophrenia and could kill me if he gets mad. (considering that i work with numerous folks who are living with schizophrenia who are not violent or dangerous, i am more annoyed by people overhearing that awful stereotype than the threat itself, especially on a train crowded with white folks when we are the only two people of color around) he says, “you ugly bitch, if i catch you outside of this train, i will fuck you up, you nasty bitch/hoe, etc.” i want to do my hollaback duty, and maybe snap a picture, but we are so close that i’m convinced he will take the phone out of my hand and hit me. i turn around, try to ignore him and put my headphones back in. i am fuming. my skin is hot, i feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but refuse to let him see that he has officially put me back in my place.

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