Beef Broccoli

Beef Broccoli isn’t authentic Chinese food, it’s American Chinese food, but after the day I had last Thursday, I didn’t care about technicalities.

It started off with a minor run-in with the neighbor across the street. He and about five other people have rented the house for the past three years. Aside from a fender bender with our friends a few New Year’s Eves ago, we haven’t had any issues with them. They always have people over but they keep to themselves so we mostly ignore them. Then a little over two weeks ago, he decided to permanently park his car in front of our house. I didn’t pay it any mind until I realized it had been a week and the car hadn’t moved. I asked James if he knew anything about it, thinking maybe the neighbor had told him that the car wasn’t working and they’d move it soon, but James was as clueless as I. So we waited and waited and it didn’t move. Finally I saw him working on the yard Thursday morning and walked over and asked if they were having car problems because the car had been parked there for over a week. And he was kind of a dick about it. He said the car was fine but it wasn’t in the way so it shouldn’t be a problem. So I smiled and said that I was just making sure because we hadn’t been asked if anyone could park in front of our house and it was just common courtesy to park on your own side of the street. I went for a run and when I came back, the car had been moved to another neighbor’s house. Fyi, there’s plenty of space on the street in front of theirs. Anyway.

That day we also had a crew over to replace our a/c. It was twenty-five years old and the fan motor was going out so we decided to replace the whole thing because otherwise we would have been delaying the inevitable. They were over for about three and a half hours and started to move the old unit into their truck and clean up. I told them I had to take the four year old to get her vaccinations but would be back in thirty minutes. I asked if that would be a problem and they said it wouldn’t, that if they finished before I got back, they would wait around. I left and ended up coming back forty minutes later; you know how doctor’s appointments go. As I drove up to the house, I noticed their truck was gone and the door to the garage was wide open. I was pissed. The four year old and I got out of the car, I cautiously walked into the house, and looked around to make sure everything was okay. We don’t live in a bad neighborhood, far from it, but you never know. What followed were a few phone calls to the company’s office and dealing with a supervisor who literally laughed at me when I told him I was upset that my home had been left unsecure. Then the crew drove up and when I said “Dude, you left my garage wide open and my front door unlocked.” the tech said “Oh yeah, I had to go drop some stuff off.” No apology, no acknowledgement that he did something wrong, just asked for my credit card number.

By then it was two o’clock and I was over it. I still had to go buy some items for dinner the next night so the kid and I drove down to the Korean market. We walked around and looked at some items, the kid picked out some cookies for her and her sister (she was really excited about the panda cookies), and I looked for some plain steam buns. The only ones I could find had fillings so I asked the cashier, who has helped me in the past, if they had any plain ones. He walked me to the freezer and pointed them out. I said thank you and as he walked behind me, he grabbed my ass.

Full on grab. I felt fingers in my crack.

I was frozen. In the span of a minute, a million thoughts raced through my head. “Did that really happen? No, maybe his hand just brushed by me, that happens. No, I felt fingers. I definitely felt fingers. He did that, didn’t he? He totally groped me. Where’s the kid? Good, she’s right here. Okay, we need to go. I need to pay for these buns. Did that just happen? What do I do? Do I say something? Just get out of here. Get out of here fast. Well, pay for the buns. You need to make dinner tomorrow. Shit. Did he really just do that?”

And I paid for the buns. I couldn’t even look at him, I was still reeling from what he had just done to me. I wanted to get out of there fast. The kid wanted to walk around and go to another store, she’s four, she was clueless as to what happened, but I couldn’t think straight until we got in our car. We got in the car, buckled up, and than I sat and decided on what to do.

“I could call the police, I could file a report, but that would mean sitting around and waiting. I had to pick up the baby in thirty minutes, this wouldn’t get resolved in thirty minutes. James couldn’t pick the baby up, he wouldn’t get there in time. The school would understand but then I’d have to explain what happened. And I’ll have to keep explaining what happened. This isn’t going to go away with a quick police report. This will go on for a while. I’ll be dealing with this for a while. I can’t handle this right now. I have enough going on without having to deal with another police situation.

Another police situation? Yeah, another one. There’s a lot I don’t talk about on here. So anyway, I did what most people do today. I posted about my situation on Facebook and then called James and tried to not burst into tears because I was afraid and ashamed of how I didn’t react. Because I should have been stronger, I should have said something, that’s what a woman is supposed to do. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t handle having one more thing because it would have been a thing, a very big thing, and it was too much. So I’m a bad woman, a bad example to my daughter, but on the plus side, she’s four and like I said, clueless as to what’s going on.

I hope there isn’t a next time but if there is, I’ll know better. Because the only way we can stop this is by doing something. Men who do this type of stuff want us to be ashamed, like it’s something we should take blame for, but we shouldn’t. We do not exist for their entertainment and we do not belong to them. Our bodies are ours. Period.

I really wish I would have said something.

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