I’ve been pretty quiet lately, huh? School. Work. More work. New work. You know. Life. Not much time for writing or reading. Unless its reading how packages work in SQL. Or how quicksorts work and how to make them in JAVA. #nerd.
Anywise, recently I took on another/new part time job (I had 3 at one point, wooh. I’m down to one and a halfish right now). It’s cashiering at one of the big box stores around the country. It isn’t awesome, but I’ve had worse jobs (collections is pretty much soul destroying). Hell, the most trouble I get (usually) is from people who want to buy alcohol and don’t have to show their ID or don’t have it. Sorry, company policy is that unless your hair is pure white and you’re bent over– I need to ask for your ID.
Anywise. Normally, even people aren’t that bad. Though, I did once get told not to “argue” with the customer when I said, “No, I think I charged you for four bags in total” (I accidentally charged for seven). When I wasn’t being argumentative at all, but whatever. I also had an old man tell me he had a dream about me (I’m 29-years-old, and routinely get asked if I’m like 21-years-old or younger). That was kinda skeevy.
Tonight, however. I had an incident that actually scared me. To the point that when I told my supervisor about it I was almost in tears. What strikes me about it now, after the fact, is the difference between my reaction and my male coworkers.
I had a man come through my lane who was obviously suffering from some sort of mental illness. From how he was acting I’m pretty sure he was hearing voices. Now, I try to be very empathetic to people suffering from mental illness– god knows I’d rather have people treat me kindly when my PTSD or my depression swarms me. However, when I first looked up at this man after finishing when another customer he had his stretched out in my direction and was making choking motions at me.
As soon as he saw I was looking he stopped, but he was hitting his hands and his wallet. He also would not respond to anything I said to him. I tried to smile and ask him: “How are you? Are you okay?” Got not response. “Do you need a bag tonight?” Nothing.
However, he was swearing under his breath. Cussing and saying things like, “I hate your fucking voice.” After he paid he walked off to the produce section shouted obscenities again before moving off toward the bananas.
Two coworkers were nearby and looked at it. And I told them, “Hey was he was talking to himself and he was really angry, and he was making choking motions at me.” And their responses were like, “Woah that guys weird.” Or to shake their head.
The man came back through my lane to buy some fruit and something else– that I don’t even remember now. I was concentrating on being non-threatening. Again, no response was given to anything and at the end of the transaction and muttered, “Don’t fucking talk to me.”
Now, and even then, I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t cussing at me. I have a feeling that the choking motion he was doing with his hand wasn’t even to me. But I was really scared. I’m all of 5’5″, and while I’m a fat woman– I’m not a strong woman. Here was this man obviously angry and he had made threatening motions in my direction. And my coworkers didn’t take it seriously.
I got headshakes and that’s it. By the time I got the attention of my supervisors the man was gone. Making me feel like I didn’t have back up. And also if that man needed help– well he won’t have been getting it from our store. Now that I’m out of the moment and I look back on it– I’m worried about the man.
He obviously needed some help. I’m a bit of ashamed of myself for being so afraid and not taking stronger action– telling one of my male coworkers to go *get* the manager. Or going myself.
At the same time I feel its very telling that my response was fear where as my coworkers (male) responses were to not take it seriously. I think that it says alot about a female’s point of view in our society to that of a male’s.
I swear I had a thesis when I started writing this, but I seem to have lost it somewhere. I’m also too tired to go back and edit– I’ll never post it if I do.
So I apologize for the all over the place of it.
I think that men in America have the luxury to laugh off frightening things that women do not, and that women have to be more aggressive when we’re afraid– otherwise we don’t get taken seriously.