Friday is off to a great start! Thanks in no small part to my Resting Bitch Face, I'm sure, a young, obviously unbalanced street scumbag sitting on a bench dressed in dirty American Apparel clothing made an exaggerated mean face at me in order to mock me. While making little scoffing noises. I gave him my best Purposeful Bitch Face and he lost it and screamed FUCK YOU, BITCH. This causes the three people waiting for the streetcar to start rubbernecking. As I start to walk past, I say, "fuck you, you don't know me." I'm starting to feel sweaty and panicked but I am SO TIRED of this horseshit. He then gets up to mock-lunge at me while screeching FUCK YOU, YOU PRETENTIOUS CUNT!!! at the top of his lungs. I say, "Ok, then" and walk away while everyone is still just rubbernecking. He's still muttering in the background. I could just feel the misogyny coming off him in waves. It was surreal. I felt like I was briefly trapped in this scuzzy motherfucker's web of hatred for women.
A version of this happens to me on the regular, of course. I'm a woman who regularly walks around, existing, in a downtown area. Portland has a lot of unstable people on the streets, especially during the summer, who are also entitled scum. They flock here, specifically and on purpose because for a few glorious months, they all but own the downtown area. Despite his obvious impulsivity and paranoia indicating possible mental illness, he was clearly, at his very core, just an anti-social piece of shit. He went right past telling me to smile and straight for "I'll show that stuck-up cunt!!" If there hadn't been anyone around, THIS would have been the guy that would have attacked me in some fashion. I have had too many experiences like this, that were right on the razor's edge of going very, very badly.
Maybe I should have just skittered off without saying anything. Maybe that would have been smarter. I am generally a non-confrontational person, but I ignore a LOT of shit and this was especially bad. I am so over it. I despise that people like him cause me to "other" and deeply resent the presence of panhandlers and summer street campers. But I feel a lot more compassion for those who leave me and everyone else the fuck alone, or talk to me with respect.
Do I care that mental illness might have contributed to this dude's behavior? Not really. The vast majority of the mentally ill are not threatening or dangerous and it is unfair to them to give assholes like this a pass. This guy was pure scum. He clearly hated women. He hated me for existing. And you know what? I hate him right back. Fuck him. I'm not going to lose sleep over wishing he walks in front of the light rail train while distracted by harassing his next target.
All of this happened because I dared to walk down the street without smiling.
I am generally pretty hard-assed about this sort of thing, but this went so far above and beyond that I couldn't help but feel the tears threatening to make an appearance, which only pissed me off more. Fuck that guy and everyone like him.