Note: To understand this one, you need to remember I wear the veil, and I live in North America. Not the best combination these days, but there you have it.
I was in such a good mood on my late afternoon walk earlier today-initially anyway. The boys were off to play soccer with their father, and Mimi’s bedtime was in less than an hour! Which meant I would have the house to myself for an hour before my boys stampede through the door at around 8 p.m.
I was planning to enjoy this hour reading or just relaxing at home. Instead I am writing this because I am incensed.
I like to walk along the Canal in Griffintown. There are two paths. There is the rough grainy slightly pebbled path for pedestrians and joggers. And there is the “bike” path, which I loosely interpret to welcome everyone on wheels.
As I was walking along, pushing Mimi in her three-wheeled stroller on the “bike” path, enjoying the breeze and visualizing my next big dream, a man biking with a group passed me from behind and huffed:
“This is the bike path” as he whizzed passed me.
“I have three wheels and you have two!”
I yelled after him at the top of my lungs.
People turned to see what I was yelling about. I didn’t care.
And that was it. I was and still am, disproportionately angry.
I spent the rest of my walk aggressively eyeing everyone who came across my path. Challenging them silently.
Do you have something to say? Do you have a problem with me? Huh? Huh?
My anger only increased as I saw a man on an electrical wheelchair, and recalled all the people I’ve seen on skateboards and rollerblades, not to mention very slow toddlers on tricicles and skooters. Of course they all had the right to be on this path. Was anyone yelling at them?
But nothing made me more angry than seeing an attractive woman jogging on the bike path (on her feet, no wheels, just to be clear). Was anyone yelling at her? Nooo. She’s the kind of woman one might ask to move slightly to the left, not to get her out of the way, but to bring her more towards the center of one’s vision, to better appreciate her figure and the way her blonde ponytail swished from side to side.
I tried to understand why I was yelled at
a. Because I look like an ignorant timid immigrant who does not know her rights
b. Because I’m a woman not dressed attractively enough for some people’s taste (really, studies show that both men and women treat better looking women ..well, better)
c. Because I’m a mother, who is crowding the posh single crowd’s idea of a Sunday afternoon. In which case, I wish upon them all triplets as an introduction to parenthood, then I’d like to see them try pushing their strollers on a pebbled path.
d. The man is simply an idiot who thinks his biking outfit makes him cool
Regardless of the reason/s, I sent a prayer after him that I hope hit the ceiling of the sky and came back down to ram his snobbish nose to the pavement. And if he did fall, then I hope he also had enough insight to know that that fall was the end of my punchline.
I know I’m overreacting. And I know why.
I have been sensitized and I am already bristling and inflamed. Because these are just some of the things I have stored in my memory from my walks in Griffintown and by the canal:
1. I stepped aside at the edge of a little bridge that was common to pedestrians and bikers one afternoon, smiling and gesturing to the biker to pass. He gave me the finger.
2. I was walking on the sidewalk, again pushing the stroller, when from all the way across the street another biker yelled in French: Terroriste! Les Musulmans sont terrorists! Terroriste! ( I don’t care about my French spelling mistakes and grammar)
3. A homeless man, watched me approach from a distance, again pushing the stroller. And he waited until I was close, and without breaking eye contact, he poured his only beer slowly onto the ground in my narrow path, leering at me.
Really? I’m worth your last beer? Really?
When we take these incidents all together, (and I am just getting started with my examples here ) Am I overreacting?
Should I just get used to this then? Tell me!!!