Just Another Wednesday

Twice a month the senior hiking group takes a hike at a local spot – today it was Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek. The senior group is called DASH, but we don’t dash at all. We stroll, stop, stroll some more. It takes four hours to go five miles, by the time everyone has carpooled to the trail head, gone to the bathroom, hiked, rested, hike rested, hiked, eaten, hiked, rested, hiked, gone to the bathroom, and carpooled back.  Everyone’s retired, so no one cares what time it is.

Two things made the hike different today. Rita and Baxter were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, and they had caramel apple suckers for everyone. I would eat mine, but it might pull the crowns out of my mouth, so maybe not.

The second thing was the carcass I found on the trail, with full vertebrae, some ribs attached at one end, and some hair attached at the other. It was either a fox or a house cat.  There wasn’t much left to inspect except for the locking vertebrae. I was fascinated.

I arrived back home, got the mail from my new locking mailbox, and threw the balls to each dog until they were tired. Then I ate some food, worked on my contractor’s jacket (he’s going to a wedding on Saturday and bought a white linen jacket, but the sleeves are too long, and he asked me to hem them up), then went to see my sister. She’d been asking for me all day, forgetting that I was hiking today.

I went home, changed my clothes, and headed downtown to run two errands before meeting a friend for dinner and a glass of wine. We ended up in the bar at Faz where a group had gathered to sing karaoke. Some of the singers were excellent, some were bad. One little girl sang a song from Phantom of the Opera in her white dress. She must be about seven.

As Leslie and I ate our pizzas and talked about our lives, property taxes, and Donald Trump, we discussed how she had been raped at 26, in Mexico, by a summer roommate.

The list goes on and on, all these women friends, not sharing our stories until just recently, all of us having had unwanted sex in our younger lives, not reporting, hiding it away until now, with the #MeToo movement and decades of time between us and the nightmare we had tucked away to deal with later.

I told Leslie I was drunk and passed out so didn’t remember much about my rape, except that my insides hurt since it was my first time. She said at least I didn’t have a memory of the panic that she felt when she realized her summer roommate was going to rape her that morning.

This keeps coming up in my posts because I keep learning of yet another friend who has a story to tell.  It’s real. It happened. Women are done hiding their secrets.

I shared a video on my Facebook feed that is a parody of Donald Trump’s words that it is a scary time to be a guy. A man I used to teach with in Iowa blasted me for it. He has a wife and maybe a daughter. All I can say is, Dan, until you have been violated by a stranger or an acquaintance, don’t judge me by my posts. As a school principal, you need empathy for the young women in your charge.

Sexual assault happens. Rape happens. Denying that it does shows no empathy.

You can question the heck out of Christine Blasey Ford’s statements until you can reconcile them with your politics. But the women of this country know what happened. Because it has happened to more of us than anyone has believed.

That is changing now. Women are speaking up. Women are done hiding.

We are royally pissed off.

That is all you need to know.

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