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Thursday, March 22, 2007


THURSDAY, March 22

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Okay, the cherry trees are in bloom, there's early flowers in the gardens, I hear, occasionally, happy little birds twittering in the naked branches of the trees. But it's been raining non-stop and the forecast is for much more. On top of it, it's bitterly cold and utterly miserable. So this is Spring?

I absolutely had to force myself out of bed this morning and give myself a stern talking-to about heading out to the pool for waterfit. But the time I got here, waiting in the rain for buses that were late because of traffic snarls, I missed most of the session but did manage a couple of lengths and soaked in the hot-tub awhile. Then, feeling somewhat more relaxed, I went to the change room for my shower.

Oddly, I've been writing lately about violence against women by MEN. But today there was a disturbing incident happened in the women's change-room at the pool that made me see there can also be violence against women by women. A bunch of us seniors were toweling down and changing when this shaven-headed, tattooed person (woman) dressed in men's clothes, barged into the dressing-room ranting at the top of her voice about "stupid useless women!" and continued carrying on in the most disgusting manner, shouting insults, degrading commentaries, hassling and finally threats against us other women who were her captive audience. It didn't stop there, as she was getting ready (for a gym workout) she began singing loud, rude lyrics to some made-up or possibly real song, again degoratory and insulting to women. Another woman told her to stop, that what she was doing was harrassment and degrading to the rest of us. This set the bully off into more tirades and threats. When I spoke up to support the first lady, the bully threatened me too. "I'll take you out and...." If this had been a man, he'd have been put in handcuffs and taken out and charged. Someone must have complained, as a pool attendant (female) came in and spoke to her, calmed her down somewhat, but this creature was a time-bomb ready to explode. Everyone in the change room was upset and frightened, not knowing what to do.

When I got dressed, I went out and told the desk clerk I wanted to lay a formal complaint. Frankly, people who behave like that ought to be barred. We women go to the pool for our waterfit classes and expect to be in a safe environment. This was far from 'safe'. It was downright scary. I've seen this person before, in the gym, strutting about like Rambo.
Not even the men in that gym behave in such a bullish manner as she does.

Anyway, when I was writing the complaint letter, who should appear on the stairway from the gym and come over to the desk, but the culprit. It was so weird that I wondered if she somehow knew I was there making a complaint about her. I was frankly worried as I wouldn't want to meet this person alone anywhere. She's dangerous! I hid the note from her view and heard her say to the desk clerk "It was only words from a Stones song. If they want to blame someone, let them blame the Stones!" And, thankfully, off she went to the gym. But I'll watch out for her in future, because surely she would put two-and-two together and figure out it was me who was writing the formal complaint against her. I gather from the desk clerk (who is famliar with her) that she probably has a mental-health problem and was off her meds. Still, this kind of behavior should not be allowed. It's bad enough hearing about violence against women by men, but when it's woman against woman that's even more shocking!

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