On:: my ass

20 June, 2010

Who: Me, all by my lonesome, walking to the G train
What: A most heinous and immature violation
Where: Williamsburg, Brooklyn; center of the overly-ironic-but-oh-wait,-do-you-know-what-ironic-even-means-? universe.
When: 12:00am midnight; an early summer night.
Why:.. …?

Having spent the afternoon with my friends wasting our livers away at the Brooklyn Brewery; and my evening/night at a nearby Williamsburg bar chatting with some shy, but lovely (and decidedly not gay) guys, I headed home, in pursuit of the G train that would eventually provide an uninterrupted voyage back to the safety of my comfortable and colorful neighborhood of Carroll Gardens.

I find Williamsburg’s streets to be unnecessarily complicated; I made a minor wrong turn and needed to retrace my steps. The night was bright and filled with hipsters; I concentrated on my destination and the map on my iphone.  I could still taste the last beer I had strained to finish – a smoked ale that left my mouth feeling like a barbecue, and could feel it’s effects coursing through my head.  I had arrived at the Brewery – feeling fresh and charming in new haircut and new t-shirt top that I had made – at 3pm, which meant the last 8 hours were filled with malt and hops and general insanity.   My freshness had faded long ago, overcome by beer, the heat and an overwhelming hunger (did I really choose to forgo eating pizza because of it’s caloric value?) and I was eager to get home, fill my belly, and drift off to sleep.

Metropolitan Avenue, relatively empty, was finally bringing me towards the subway, and I was finishing up a text to my friend in LA that my day in Williamsburg had been long but not unenjoyable, when all of a sudden I heard a whoop! coming up from behind me, then the pounding of sneakers on pavement, and before I could figure out that meant I should get out of the way —

WHAM!

Two hands slapped me, my poor little tush, and the two men (boys? teens?) they belonged to ran off in front of me, into the night with another whoop.

“HEY!” was all I could think of to yell at the moment.   The guys had disappeared down the nearest sidestreet.  There had been no one else around to witness it.  My ass stung, and I felt the phantom hands still there.  After a moment’s freeze, I quickened my pace, but couldn’t find the perps down the street.  My phone was shaking in my hand.   And I kept asking myself, over and over, What the hell just happened?

What does one do in a situation like that?   I am, I suppose, lucky enough that this was the first time I’ve been physically harassed, but I can now start to understand how it feels to be a victim, to have wrong done unto you for no other reason other than you’re there.  It hurts.

My derriere smarted the entire way home, a tender and unpleasant reminder of the heinous assault.  I was angry, cranky, no longer drunk in the least but lightheaded with confusion and hunger, despite my loss of appetite.  I was reminded why I’ve often felt like I dislike people as a general rule.  Part of me wanted to engage the people on the subway and shout Do you know what just happened to me?  Why didn’t you stop it?! while another part of me wanted to simply turn invisible.

A week and a half has gone by, and I don’t think that the incident has really left any huge scars, emotionally-speaking.  But neither have I recovered fully, and I wonder if we, as women, ever can.  Or if we ever should.

Another reason to stay away from Williamsburg.

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