When I was younger, I used to be the queen of the angry consumer letter. I sent off a lot of letters to companies (electricity or gas companies, for example) which had overcharged me or had just been incompetent one way or the other. (There really is nothing I hate more than incompetence!) My friends would laugh at me, and say that I was wasting my time, but I have always believed very vehemently that it’s important for the individual consumer, or concerned citizen, to make his or her voice heard. True, one person probably can’t affect any, or much, change all by themselves, but all these individual voices added together will sometimes have a lot of power. Even if they don’t, it’s still important to speak out about something unjust or unfair.
In recent years, unfortunately, I have tended to let things go, and many of these things were issues which really needed to be addressed. Take, for example, the question of the bad reference letter I got from my Master’s thesis advisor who had promised me a good reference but then sent off a bad one instead! This duplicitous, sneaky, self-righteous bitch really deserves to get a piece of my mind but I’ve never got around to telling her exactly what I think of her. I also need to file a complaint against the woman in my teacher’s certification program who emotionally bullied me for months.
Will complaining about either of these women change anything or make them reflect on how prejudiced and hypocritical they are? No, probably not because if either of these women were caring human beings, willing to reflect on their behaviour and how it can affect and hurt other people, they would never have behaved the way they did in the first place. However, somebody, somewhere has to say something and maybe, one day, if they receive enough individual complaints, they will be forced to change.
I don’t know why I’ve stopped complaining. The main reason, I think, was because when I moved to the US, I got so depressed that it was hard enough to find the energy to survive let alone complain about anything. Recently, thankfully, I’ve been feeling more like my old self, and I’m glad because the world needs people who will stand up for their own rights and the rights of others.
My newfound sense of energy and passion has come at a good time because, today, I was treated in the most cavalier , patronizing and sexist manner by a cop…just because I happen to be a woman. When I was out running, I was nearly run over by a total dickhead who, although the light was green for pedestrians, looked furious that I dared to be on the road and decided not to stop for me. If I hadn’t jumped out of the way, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have been hurt or killed. As a runner and a cyclist, I have encountered many careless drivers who have not been paying attention and who have nearly run me over, but this guy was different. He probably didn’t see me at first but when he did, there was no attempt to stop for me. In fact, he drove straight at me! I, and a female pedestrian on the other side of the street, were left flabbergasted by his actions.
I ran off down the street after him, but obviously couldn’t keep up. However, I hung about in the area because I suspected the driver was looking for parking given that he had turned off a busy road into an area where there were many parking lots. Sure enough, he drove past me a few moments later, and I called the cops. I don’t know why I bothered because the state trooper who showed up wouldn’t listen to my side of the story and, first of all, took the driver aside and let him talk, uninterrupted for several minutes. I, apparently wasn’t “calm” enough to give testimony! Too right I wasn’t! I had nearly been killed by an angry, aggressive driver. I actually had to fight to get my version of events across. In fact, it was obvious that the officer had already made his mind up about the incident before he even spoke to me because the driver put on a very nice little show of being all trite and apologetic. Funny how he didn’t seem quite so well-mannered when he was putting his foot on the accelerator!
When the cop finally did speak to me, he was far more interested in reprimanding me for having called the driver an “asshole” than being concerned that he had nearly killed me. I should add that, at no point, was I rude or disrespectful to the officer. All that I did “wrong” was be upset and give the driver a piece of my mind. I could be mistaken, but I don’t even think I called the driver an asshole in the officer’s presence! I expressed how I felt to the driver before the cop arrived, so he must have made a point of telling the cop I had insulted him. He made it seem that he had just accidentally driven straight at me, and that I was an unreasonable person for not having accepted his apology.
It was clear to me that this officer had no interest in anything I had to say because I was an “angry woman”. I wasn’t taken seriously and I was patronized at every point. I was also lied to because the officer told me there was nothing he could do to this man because he had not hit me. The security guard who helped me call the cops (and who was a retired police officer who had been in the force for thirty years) later told me this wasn’t true, and that the cop could have issued a citation if he’d wanted to.This security guard was actually lovely, and listened to me, and showed sympathy, far more than the cop did. If only more cops were like him but, sadly, too many have the social skills of turds, and are filled with weird, little fucked-up prejudices.
Unluckily for this state trooper and the idiot driver, I’m in a very, very big complaining mood. I’ve already filled out a complaint against the cop, and I will be filing a criminal complaint against the driver at the county attorney’s office, too. I will also be writing a letter to two local newspapers about what happened to me, in the hope that they will get published. Finally, I am going to start a petition and get local runners to sign it, which I hope will strengthen my complaint againt the cop.
Ain’t nobody gonna try run over this angry woman without there being a whole lotta fuss afterwards! I’m sure nothing will happen to either of these men, but I’m sure as hell going to make myself as big a pain in the arse as possible! Huh!