Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chick pass not valid here

With two minutes to get from the bowels of the Orange Line to the Fairfax Connector, I wove through the rush hour crowd like a piranha through a Discovery Channel special.

An empty turnstile loomed in front of me. Like Seabiscuit on the final lap, I put on my blinders and went in, purposefully oblivious of anyone around me. It was a cheeky move, devoid of any hint of politeness, finesse or consideration. And the nattily dressed businessman intersecting me at the Smarttrip scanner treated it accordingly.

With a tailored shoulder, he shoved me firmly and decidedly out of the way.

“You will not cut in front of me.”

Hey, I thought. I’m a girl! You don’t shove a delicate flower of womanhood. I could be rushing home to care for my five kids and grandkid on the way. (That’s not the case, but hypothetically, one can stretch the imagination...)

As I reflected more upon the incident, I found it oddly reassuring that this man had not treated me with kid gloves because of my gender. Though appreciated in many circumstances (such as moving heavy furniture and opening jars), being a recipient of the Chick Pass often can feel like being patronized. The soft bigotry of low expectations, as they say.

I remembered every time I’d heard: “You travel to other countries by yourself – aren’t you scared?” “You bought a yourself?”

Would people ask such questions of a guy?

My aggressive action had turned the situation into a gender-neutral playing field. And my fellow commuter had treated me just as I’d treated him – as just another obstacle in a type A day.

Although I advocate neither Metro rage nor shoving, I do have to wonder how typical this man is.

I guess the next few months will tell.


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous katjjames said...

Just for fun, and to totally freak him out, next time spontaneously burst into hysterical tears and talk about how your son with cancer was admitted to the hospital and you are just trying to get to him....please?

I am totally sick of mom whining this year.


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