I seem to be the living proof of that.
This is not a feminist statement, by the way. I don’t get defensive over the fact that I’m a woman. I don’t spend my time talking about how men and women should be treated the same, no matter how controversial my attitude is. There are things that each of us excels at, and the best functioning families are – in my opinion, and experience – the ones where partners capitalize on the things they’re good at. It doesn’t matter if it’s money making, child raising, chores around the house, organizing social events and celebrations, shopping or something else. Each person is good at some of those things and does them quickly… effectively. I mean, why not accept that?
I drifted away from what I really wanted to complain about, though.
It’s simply about the fact that I feel mistreated very often because of things I can’t change, or won’t change – like gender and physical appearance. I’m a tiny human, just over 150 cm. I’m not a chubby one, either, so from an average person’s perspective, I kind of look like a weakling. A fragile branch, easily broken.
They have no idea how wrong they are for thinking that.
Still, some try to treat me that way. (I wish I could write a sassy line following this one, something like: “They always come to realize how wrong they are”, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.)
Yesterday, I was supposed to receive a package from one of the local stores that sells equipment and food for babies. I’m pretty much a regular, ordering baby oatmeal about once per month. And it’s always the same courier that delivers the package. Always.
It’s not a very nice guy, either, but I’ve been putting up with him.
Basically, we live in a building where our doorbell doesn’t work and we’re not willing to fix it so people wouldn’t feel tempted to ring it while the baby is asleep. We even have a sign saying “knock please, the doorbell doesn’t work”. Another factor to consider is that we live in an 18-floor building. On the 18th floor. It’s a long way up. There is an elevator, but for most people who aren’t accustomed to it, it’s a hassle.
Especially for this guy.
What he’s been doing for months now is calling me on the phone every time he’s in front of the building, so that it rings only once or twice. Not enough time for me to pick up, for sure. Then, he leaves the building in a rush and I instantly get an automated message saying that I wasn’t at home and the delivery failed. Majestic. A SAHM who isn’t at home to receive baby food. Bravo for me.
Yesterday, I decided to give him a call right after he “called” me. He was already on his way to the van and I barely even got him to deliver the package. The moment he picked up the phone, I knew we were going to have a problem.
So he came all the way up with the package. For the first time, if I may add, since he never bothered entering the building. The moment I opened the door, he literally started yelling at me, starting with a “let me tell you something…” in a very ominous tone.
I let him finish.
He rambled on and on about how he wastes time all day on people who aren’t at home. How he eats his lunch every day in the van and never has any time for himself. How he keeps calling me every time he needs to deliver the package (by the way, he knows I have a baby and he keeps asking ME to get out of the building when I’m alone, so he can do his job faster. Like it’s an easy job to wake the baby up, get him ready, put him in a stroller and go 18 floors below).
None of these things made sense to me, and I don’t think they were any of my business.
I started talking and informed him about how rude he was. At that point, he was shouting at me, not letting me finish my sentences at all, saying how he’s not rude at all simply because “he never cursed at me, not even once”. But he was definitely rude, and borderline aggressive. He went on to threaten me that he’ll call his manager to “complain about a customer”. Now, what kind of a threat is that? What would be the complaint? That I’m buying the product and providing him with a job he’s supposed to do?
Oh, and did I also mention he looks like he’s double my height and size, and that he was looking down at me the whole time, since I’m basically fun-sized in comparison to him?
The reason why I even decided to write about this became clear later, after Filip got home and I told him what happened. (For those of you who know Filip, you know that his heart is full of kindness, but he is a big guy, who looks like you don’t really want to mess with him). He said he’ll open the door next time this guy attempts to deliver, so he can say all these things to him.
That got me thinking.
Would this guy who obviously cares about his job very much, actually say all these things to another guy who looks like a male that could challenge him? Would he also consider where the line is, so he doesn’t get punched in the face if he crosses it? (Not that Filip would do that… but the courier doesn’t know that, does he?) Would he be treated differently out of fear and asserted dominance?
I definitely think so.
The world I live in can be unfair sometimes. I feel undermined, undervalued and underestimated simply because I still look like a High school junior. I face this kind of behavior every day, in different forms. People look at me funny when I go for a walk with my baby in a stroller, quietly wondering if he’s really mine. When I am out and about and someone else refers to me, they often say “girl” when my child is not around. They wouldn’t possibly consider that I’m a good mother, a good wife to someone. And that’s completely based on my physical appearance because I most definitely don’t think I behave like a brat.
People who know me well, know that I can be spiteful sometimes. I get frustrated when there is no justice, when people think they can get away with anything in this forsaken place. I sometimes say harsh things when I’m upset about it. Now it makes me wonder if I’m subconsciously trying to overcompensate for my tiny vessel.