Tuesday Morning Harassment

Tuesday Morning Harassment

A creative non-fiction story about my experience with casual street-level harassment.

An hour before I'm scheduled to begin, I am walking to work. I want some time to myself to sit, write, drink my coffee, and prepare for my day.

Headphones in, I am cognizant of my surroundings as I make my way down the street.

I am tired. I need coffee. I want to go to sleep.

A block from the office, I pass a man to whom I give no thought.

Half a block from the office, that same man confronts me, tapping me on the shoulder.

It's 8am. What could he possibly want?

I'm startled. I don't expect someone I don't know to come talk to me, let alone touch me to get my attention. When I look his way, he is smiling a friendly, unassuming smile and holding a folded napkin in front of me.

Thinking I can hear him, he speaks.

I see his lips moving, but can't hear him over the sound of my music.

"What?" I ask, taking a headphone out of my ear.

"I don't mean to startle you," he says, "but I saw you walking down the street and wanted to let you know that I think you're very beautiful. This is for you."

I confusedly take the napkin, thanking him, wondering if I had dropped it at some point while I walked, still not registering what's going on.

"What is this?" I ask. He smiles.

"It's my number," he says, still smiling.

"Oh," I say, "well, thank you."

Then he asks my name.

Dumbfounded, I tell him. He tells me his, too, and I shake his hand like I would with any other stranger I was just meeting.

I don't remember his name.

As I'm getting ready to walk away, he playfully asks me if I'll be calling him, to which I nervously laugh and say, "Maybe." He gives me the old, "Aw, come on now," but I don't respond.

I keep walking down the sidewalk past the office entrance.

I don't want him to know where I work.

I don't know what else to say or do, but no matter how nice this guy seems, all I want to do is get into the office and be left alone.

I tell him to "have a good day!" as I walk away - a method of ending the conversation. I make out that he says "you too!" while continuing to talk after me.

I am no longer listening.

I swiftly walk until I reach the corner of the block, turn right, and go to the side of the alley behind the office. I figured I'd wait about 5 minutes until he walked down the block and out of sight so I could unlock the doors and get inside.

I look down at my phone to check the time and coincidentally see the napkin with his number on it.

Why did I stop to talk to him?

Suddenly, I hear a car horn honk. It's the man.

He followed me where I walked to get away from him.

He watched me as I walked away.

Scared, I look up and see him with his window unrolled.

He speaks at me.

"Don't forget about me," he coyly says with a mischievous smile.

Not even two minutes had passed from our first interaction.

He followed me.

He idles in his car, blocking the right lane, waiting for a response.

"I won't," I stupidly reply, nervous he is going to come closer.

He smiles and keeps speaking, but I quickly walk back towards the office, looking over my shoulder with every second step I take.

My breathing has become shallow. My heart is in my throat. My small hands are clammy as I reach for the door.

I am fumbling with the keys, shaking - afraid he is watching me again.

Gold key first, then silver. Or is it silver, and then gold?

I am worried he's going to circle the block and come back around.

I couldn't get the key in.

He followed me once; he'll do it again.

I couldn't get the key in.

He knows my name.

I couldn't get the key in.

But he doesn't know my number.

I got the key in.

Cover Image Credit: Getty

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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