Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Outside the Dursleys' House

I thought I'd write about something else today. I had in mind a funny post about how I totally screwed up dinner last night: how, even though I'm a good cook, the meatloaf was inexplicably far too salty and the cauliflower still tasted like cauliflower despite my schmancy sauce, and I even screwed up the sliced apples, for Heaven's sake--but the stories keep coming in, and my heart is breaking.

One friend asked on Facebook for women to comment if they'd been groped in public by strangers. In 57 minutes she got 25 positive responses.

"All that ever happened to me was that someone stuck a hand up my skirt on the subway."

I think about all the work I've done to make sure my children grow up strong and safe. I taught my son to be respectful and honest and kind. I taught my daughter to be respectful and honest and kind, too--and I taught her to defend herself, be loud, and carry a pocketknife. I kid you not.

When we were in the Dominican Republic last year, my husband stepped into the airport restroom and my daughter and I were immediately surrounded by men trying to sell us cab rides that we didn't need. They weren't intimidating, but they were persistent, despite my repeated insistence that we did not need their help. There were getting to be more of them, not less. Then my daughter drew herself up, squared her shoulders, and roared something in Spanish, and the men absolutely melted away. And I thought, good. And yet what's to stop some creep from sticking a hand up her skirt? I hope she'll roar at him, embarrass the shit out of him right there on the train.

But mostly I hope it never happens.

A friend wrote to me that she feels like she grew up in the Dursley's house. You know, like Harry Potter. Not so much stuffed into a room beneath the stairs, but abused in a way no one ever saw. To the Dursleys' neighbors, it was the Dursleys' who were normal, and decent, and good, and Harry Potter was the kid with all the problems. The truth was the other way around.

One More Ting:

I don't care who you vote for, you can still be my friend and I hope I can still be yours. I mean it. I may disagree--at this point I probably disagree with everyone somewhere--but this election in particular is a hot mess and anyway, we're all mostly doing the best we can. Just vote. That part's important.