21 July 2008

I was participating in the No Border Wall March this past Saturday. Somebody ahead of my friends and I was smoking a cigarette. As if the extremely toxic smoke of a cigarette is not intrusive enough, there were lots of kids around, and a couple of pregnant ladies, including me. So after a few minutes of deliberation I decided to approach the guy, alone. It was a mistake going alone because he attacked me verbally, accusing me of arguing for argument’s sake.

After I posed the question “Since I’m pregnant and there are children around, can you wait until after the march to smoke?” He said he would TRY. His exact response was “I’ll TRY not to smoke.” Later he claims he said he would try not to smoke AROUND ME. Either way, he didn’t stick to his word. Not a minute (that’s not an exaggeration, I had only turned around for a few moments before smelling it) after he finishes his first cigarette he, presumably out of spite for this outspoken BITCH asking him to have some compassion, lit his second. And he stared me down when I noticed. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut; I said “You know, it’s none of my business, but you are obviously not a person of your word.”

Angry that I didn’t take his abuse, he sputtered things like ‘get over it, walk in front of me, you are just saying this to be argumentative’ (yeah!!! as if my fetus is just an argument!) and he was SMIRKING at me. I’m all alone, big big mistake, because I know he sees the opportunity to be as nasty as possible. The only girl witnessing this doesn’t say shit. She just stares. Then the guy proceeds to, instead of turning his head, stare me in the eye (it was a really scornful stare, it made my stomach drop) and blows smoke in my direction. I shout “You’re blowing smoke in my face!” He says “No, I’m not, look, it’s going behind me.” I respond “I can SMELL it, and I just thought you should know that you are blowing smoke in a fetus’s face and now you have that on your conscience!” He said ‘shut the fuck up’ and I turned away, unable to control my shaking.

It was the first time I felt so vulnerable to pregnancy-influenced, amped-up emotions. This guy was also cementing the terrible feeling of loneliness I have been experiencing because of the lack of safe space even in a presumably radical community. I can’t help but wonder if he would have reacted with such hatred if a fellow man had approached him about this, and I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if I had approached him RUDELY instead of sugar-sweetly. This guy took advantage of me being alone. I had felt like I was in a positive place, and that the conversation would end with us laughing and talking, maybe him asking if I had a boy or girl in my obviously swollen tummy. This guy was a total scumbag, it was written all over his face. The girl was empty-eyed and looked me up and down repeatedly. I found out later they’re ‘friends.’

Later in the day, coincidentally, I was introduced to this scumbag by a really cool guy I know. Like, a really cool guy (who obviously didn’t know what had gone down). It was awkward but funny at the same time. It was almost satisfactory in some ways.

You just never, ever know who will go out of their way to make you feel like you are an asshole for suggesting that you be taken into consideration. I mean, what the fuck? Blowing smoke in a pregnant girl’s face? You low, low human.


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