Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harvey, Part II

Well, because it's an island, I ran into Harvey again. It was early in the day at the Exchange on Friday and I was alone at the front. Harvey came through, paid for some stuff and went out to his van. Braxton, Jeff's dog, followed him out and I shouted at her to get out the road. Basic dog command that she obeyed. She's used to it. Harvey, however, has grabbed a bag of books and is heading back to give them to me. He says, "Wow, she must not have a man and you're bearing the brunt of it. Poor dog." I was going to ignore it but then as he got to the counter, he said it again to me! "You need to get a man so that you're nicer to your dog."

I was appalled. But I finally, consciously said out loud what I'd been thinking in my head. It didn't just pop out without intention. I looked at him and said, "That was totally innappropriate." I paused, realized something else that I wanted to say and added, "I need you to pack that bag back up and take it back to your car. You can donate it later when you're able to play well with others." I may not have said it quite so well, but the effect was right on.

He kind of sputtered a little but began packing up his books. Kind of feebly, he said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that you don't have a sense of humor."

"That was personal and rude. It has nothing to do with my sense of humor. It has to do with social boundaries."

As he walked away from me, he said, "We live on a pea floating in space. There are no boundaries."

Whatever. Every person I've told that story to has shared my disgust, laughed because it was Harvey and said, "Right on!" or the equivalent for finally stepping in to tell him he's out of line. Women often then compare him "men on the island" who generally think it's OK to talk to women like that. Other workers at the Exchange agreed with my asserting some authority over how we will be treated in our own environment. Yea!

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