Silence is not unkindness

I am not a morning person and don’t like talking in the morning
(those who know me would call this a RADICAL UNDERSTATEMENT concerning my real feelings about the morning). Especially at 5:30am and the moon is out and all I want to do is go home and go back to bed, and would you kindly leave me the f* alone. I wrap myself in silence and hope no one tries to catch my eye prior to 10am.

I have been riding the same bus to work for years, and when I first started, like a true Seattleite, I never talked to anyone and always wore headphones. Those were glorious days. The latest bus driver we have been assigned went out of his way to stop me and introduce himself when he was new, and I was game to do the same because he’s in charge of the bus, so it’s in my best interest.

Recently a local man started riding my same bus, getting on at my stop, and is one of those guys who feels that all women must board the bus before he does. I get chivalry, but when you’re between me and the door to the bus, yet insist I go first, it borders on creepy-no it’s not the end of the world, but I don’t need that kind of nonsense in the morning. Just get on the goddamn bus, I promise I will successfully board the bus as well, as I have done for years, and we will all get to work just fine. He also tried to say “good morning” once, but I eschewed that as well.

Now, I have never, ever, exchanged words with this man. All I have done is wave off his insistence that I board the bus first, and remained silent the one time he said “good morning”, although I most likely gave him a head nod as I am wont to do in place of verbal communication. This morning I stopped to talk to the bus driver because I wanted to see if he had noticed the man across the street pushing his motorcycle up the hill. It was an out of the ordinary occurrence. The man who gets on at my stop turned around with a scowl on his face said to me: “why are you nice to him and not me?”

So, I gave him my top few reasons: “If you are inbetween me and the front door of the bus, I don’t feel the need to get on first” and “I don’t like talking in the morning and I don’t know you”. Of course he moved on and took his seat, since it’s the relatively polite thing to do. But here I am, triggered and shaking, angry and scared, listing off reason after reason why I don’t talk to him. Not why I’m “not nice” to him, because I have NEVER been “not nice” to him, but I get what he most likely means.

So, here goes the list that I have come up with, that I will print out and hand to him tomorrow, in hopes it opens his little pink eyes to the world in which I live.

 

Why don’t I talk to you?

because…

before the end of this you will probably still think i’m overreacting, too sensitive, or come up with defenses for why you feel justified and reasonable

it’s my right to retain my privacy

being private is not being unkind, and i have never been unkind to you

i rode this bus successfully without you for years before you arrived

although he loves me dearly, it took my husband 8 years to realize that i was not fucking around when i said shut the hell up in the morning-i’m not a morning person

i haven’t had any coffee yet

somehow you have equated not saying the words “good morning” with being specifically NOT nice

i’m tired and it’s still basically the middle of the night at 5:30am

i don’t owe you company, niceness, explanations, or apologies

it is NOT a good morning

i have exactly 45 minutes on each bus to and from work to myself; the rest of every minute i am awake is dominated by people who need me to be “on”, they need me to answer their questions, do things for them, interact with them or respond to them-when I get home my family is needy too and those bus rides are the only time in my entire day where I am not obligated to answer someone who attempts to engage me.

i shouldn’t have to reassure a stranger for any reason

i am not obligated to participate in social norms, whether or not they are expected behaviors

once you have offered someone courtesy, and they decline, insisting is not nice

if i was a man you would probably not think i was obligated to interact with you, and it’s even less likely that you would stop me and ask me why i am “not nice” to you

making me feel bad about not talking to you is wrong

pleasantries are not obligations

i suffer from depression and mood swings

i don’t know you from Adam

where I grew up, you didn’t want people to know your name, or where you live

i used to never talk to Andrew either, but he stopped me, told me his name and made it akward for me to continue on with my business without answering him

if i cultivate a relationship with him then he might let me ride the bus when i have no money and need to go to work to make ends meet, which has becoming increasingly difficult to do since i support my household on less than $15 an hour

aside from that 1st time he has never pressured me to be “nice”-or I would completely ignore him day in and day out

he is an authority figure and I cultivate a relationship with him to enhance my personal safety should something go wrong on the bus

i am not looking around for new friends, and have a hard enough time maintaining functional connections with the friends i already have

i am not good at building healthy relationships so it takes a large amount of personal effort and investment to make and keep a friend

i don’t play well with others and have frequently been called a cold and unfriendly person-you aren’t the first.

i’m stressed out about my job, my financial life, my kid, my marriage, and my future

when people meet each other they almost immediately start spewing their lives desperately seeking shared values, and I find that exhausting

i do what i want to do

if i had a nickel for every time a man thought he was entitled to my attention…

i am minding my own business

riding the same bus as you do now slightly frightens me, since I know you are spending time and effort concerning yourself with my life

my mama taught me that if i don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all

i’ve got a lot on my mind, enough things to worry about and could give a shit what’s going on elsewhere-it’s hard enough trying to keep it together

you wouldn’t be the first or the last man to start a conversation with a normal pleasantry, but only talk to me because he thought i was a possible dating prospect

there’s nothing that you have that i need or want

you probably didn’t think i was rude until you engaged the other woman at our busstop, and she responded favorably-so you wondered why i didn’t

i’m just trying to get to work

how many people am i obligated to spend time with?

in the past i have been propositioned for the sex trade, despite my clear lack of interest in makeup, fashion, or appearing overtly attractive in general-but that proposition made me think that if i said No he might take it for free. he towered above me in height the way you do. and was obviously stronger and faster.

somehow i think you’ll survive without my attentions

i can’t believe i have to be subjected to that question at all

I don’t owe anyone anything

recently a few “friends” on the bus made it clear that they feel entitled to judge the lives of others without context or proof, and i don’t have to participate in that- but if my original conversations with them asking them to open their minds to other possibilities proved fruitless, their confusion about my displeasure simply isn’t going to be alleviated. they’ve chosen not to hear what i brought to them, and now i’ve had to cut those relationships off at the knees to avoid further strife in a public situation and i still have to see them everyday or purposefully avoid them

because i don’t need this kind of stress before my day has even started

if i had my husband with me you wouldn’t think i needed to talk to you or anyone else and that’s sexism

when i’m actually not nice, you’ll know it

where the hell do you get off saying this to me? what gives you the right? who do you think you are?

i don’t need to educate you

at this point in our relationship you have been more rude than i ever was to you

because you can ruin my day with one sentence

because i’m shaking, planning, typing this out, and it’s been over two hours since you said this to me

i can’t stop thinking about this and writing about it despite the fact that i’m at work and i need to concentrate

sexism just reared its ugly head here in this ‘day and age’ and in this ‘progressive’ town

now i have a headache and want to cry but i’m at work and you’re not worth all that anyway

if i give you this paper i am running the risk of dealing with ongoing petulance, resentment, or worsened behavior from you

no one has to meet your expectations in order to live their own life

i don’t want to do this-any of it

i wish i had the energy to capitalize, bold and italicize certain words/phrases/paragraphs to make it easier for you to understand my emphasis, but that would take more time than i have already spent on this and i’m done.

 

Update: never handed him the 4 pages worth of reasons, but I talked to that fuckwad again this morning and he had the nerve to start calling me a crazy bitch. This is what the fuck sexism looks like.

 

 

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