Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Women who stare at dolts

Write of Passage Number Seven:

So the Transitway bus is pulling into the Bank Street stop, and I've taken my place with younger daughter in the line-up for the back door. Beyond us, the seats at the very rear of the bus are crammed with students, mostly from Algonquin College. There's a strange, tinny noise emitting somewhere in the crowd, and without thinking, I scan the seats in search of the source.

"What are you looking at?"
Startled, I meet the bright blue, rather dilated eyes of a curly-haired boy seated with a giggling girl.
"Stop staring at me!"
The line is moving off the bus. I, thankfully, have only time for an askant look: "I wasn't looking at you!"
"Yes, you were. Stop staring, bitch!"
"Oh cut it out," I say, helping younger daughter down to the pavement.
"*&%$# off!" he shouts as the doors close.

I lead younger daughter to our transfer, feeling rather like I've been slapped. I find myself wondering about better ways to respond, and whether the guy's girlfriend is at risk. If younger daughter is affected by the exchange, she isn't showing it.

That evening, I drop by the supermarket. Elder daughter is stationed behind the deli counter, but no one is about, so I wander up to say hello, giving her the quirkier details on some emails that have come in from her grandmother, before scuttling off to pick up a few necessaries.

When she gets home after her shift, she says: "You really scared Jason."
Jason is apparently a sixteen-year-old from another high school who spends his shift asking elder daughter inappropriate questions. I've never met Jason and don't know what he looks like. There had been a young man further up the counter when I chatted with elder daughter, but I don't remember glancing at him.

"He said you were glaring at him, Mom."

Must've been the alignment of the planets. Or are all young men so much the centre of their own universes? Elder daughter gives notice a few days later.


calgacus said...

Teenagers are always pretty rude and socially awkward, but "stop staring bitch" is really pretty bad. I always have trouble on trains and undergrounds trying to find something to stare at so no-one thinks i'm staring at them. It's hard when the carriages are full, so i usually brought a book or a newspaper (which also meant i didn't waste all the journey time but learnt something ). Often looked round the carriage when bored though.

Persephone said...

I'm well supplied with books, newspapers, iPod...but I do like to people-watch and usually manage it without staring (which is more than I can say about some people who think it's okay to stare at my daughter, who is on the spectrum). This incident happened within the space of a few seconds and was completely from left field which is another reason why it was such a shock.

In defense of adolescent boys and young men, I have been treated with courtesy and kindness on occasion. It happened today, as a matter of fact. I try to focus on that. Thanks for dropping by!