Roadside Abuse

Ragan Chastain blogged about her experience with this:

I was five miles into a nine mile training walk for my upcoming marathon when your car pulled up beside me, I didn’t think much of it until I heard you yell “HEY FAT BITCH!”  I stopped and turned to look at you and you took that opportunity to throw 2 eggs and, somewhat inexplicably, an empty egg carton, at me.

She was lucky.  The idiots throwing eggs at her missed completely, and she had enough internal strength to pull out a snappy comeback to the next asshole who confronted her, instead of melting into a sobbing blob, as I’m sure I would have done.

As I have done.

This happened to me back in college.  I was walking down Eagle Drive, heading to Brian’s apartment for the evening. I was wearing a brand-new outfit, a tunic-length shirt with fluorescent green and white stripes with matching green socks (hey, it was the tail-end ’80’s fashion, shut up!).  I was 16 years old, feeling pretty sharp and happy about life, happy my boyfriend was living in town now, happy the new school year was starting.

Out of nowhere, I was splattered with a goopy mess as something unintelligible was shouted at me from a passing car. I have no idea who they were, or why they did it, but now I was covered in something that smelled horrible and made me want to gag, mayonnaise and lettuce and oh how I hated both of those! It was all over my shirt, in my socks and shoes, even in my hair! I cried the whole rest of the way to Brian’s apartment (thankfully, only a couple of blocks), cried while I got cleaned up there.

Objectively, I know I wasn’t fat and ugly in college. I was a size that I now consider very healthy for myself, doing lots of walking and biking across campus and town. I looked good enough that I was never lacking for dates and hookups when I wanted them, able to talk my way into bars on the strength of my college ID alone.

That one, single incident with the food throwers, though, did more damage to my self-esteem than any other incident of abuse that I can remember.  More than 20 years later, I still flinch inside every time I pass somebody or get passed by a car while running or biking.  I’m always waiting for the next pot shot. Just the other day, a car came up from behind me while I was biking and started pacing me, and I was steeling myself for an attack even while I kept a small fixed smile on my face and waited for them to give up and pass.

I am so happy that Ragen didn’t get hit, and that she came back so forcefully to the next abuser.  I hope somebody I can dig out enough of my inner demons to have that same strength in myself.

Published by solinox

I am a Wiccan priestess, a libertarian mother of triplets plus three, a wife and homeschooling mom to blind and autistic children, a fiber artist, and a Jane of All Trades, always learning and seeking to help.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve had things like this happen to me, too — people oinking at me as they drove by, or yelling “Hey you fat fucking bitch! Why don’t you lose some weight?” out their frat house window as I walked past. I wish these asshats would figure out that nobody is obligated to look a certain way in order to please them, and that women’s bodies are not their property to criticize or abuse as they see fit.

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