There is a fellow apartment resident who thinks that I am a delicate little flower. He often gives me over the shoulder comments, suggestions, and commands that he tosses out as we are in passing. I make a point of passing him as quickly as possible. A few times he has jumped out at me from his apartment. I swear he hears me in the hallway and thinks it is me. I try hard to avoid him, if I think I hear him in the hallway I wait a few minutes before leaving, etc. He tends to drink a lot and talk a lot, neither of which I like to tolerate in my apartment hallway. I want to get in and out quickly and politely, nothing more.
The last time that he jumped out at me from his apartment, was about nine months ago, and he then stood in my way as I tried to leave and kept talking. He started lecturing me about God and Christianity and “the real meaning of life.” Unfortunately this has not been the only inebriated drunk who has seen fit to treat me like this. I am a Christian, but I hate being preached to.
After a few minutes of this I did manage to get away from him. That was when I decided, fuck this, I’m not going to put up with any more of his crap. I keep telling myself politeness and kindness do not mean being mistreated or used or taking anyone’s crap.
Yesterday afternoon I was in the mailbox entranceway with my bike, going through my recent mail, which was necessary as I was expecting a form that I needed to fill out right away and mail. The guy came in and was checking his mail.
He said I sincerely hope you are coming home and not going out.
I said, why cause it is supposed to rain? I am going out to the post office.
He said it is sleeting. I told him that I was going out and had expected it to rain and would be fine.
He offered several more suggestions about how I should live my life and what I should and shouldn’t do right there and I reiterated that I would be going out on my bike, even if it did rain or sleet and that I would be fine no matter what.
But apparently I am such a delicate little flower and totally a dim bulb because he thinks that I am incapable of living my own life, making my own decisions, and taking care of myself sans a male to tell me what to do.
This is after being disabled since I was 24, and taking care of myself without a partner or relative or friend to help me. I have always taken care of myself. My sister has helped me a lot in the last two years, but those were choices that I made. I could have had food delivered or taken a cab or taken the disability van. She offered to take me to the stores and I appreciated the help, but that does not mean that I was helpless or incapable of taking care of myself. I have been on disability for ten years and have not relied on another person to take care of myself, to pay my bills, or to give me transport. I have ridden a bicycle for more than twenty-five years all year round. And taken buses and cabs when necessary.
No one hearing that or even seeing me in the hallways, on my bike, in my life, or after having even one conversation with me would think that I am a delicate little flower. I suppose that I fit that definition, in his own mind, because then he thinks it entitles him to butt his nose into my private business.
Now, I realize that I am a beautiful wonderful flower, but I’m definitely not a fragile one or in need of a man, who is not a friend or a loved one, to tell me what to do or how to lead my life.
I am a beautiful, wonderful flower. And so are you.