It wasn’t someone I knew. But, while listening to her vulnerable, shaking voiced testimony this morning an incident came flooding back. One day where I was pinned by a man. I was 13.
I grew up in Los Angeles. It was the Fall of 1979. I went to a progressive public school located on Robertson Blvd next to Hamilton High School. We were a magnet. We had open campus privileges. Now, if I walked as far as Fred’s Bakery to get a cheese bagel for lunch, which we often did, things were fine. But, it was kind of known that if you went further North the street felt more dangerous. But, one day my friend and I wanted to eat something different so we walked to Taco Bell. It did feel less safe than Fred’s Bagels. An uneasy feeling. We looked at the menu and both decided we didn’t want to eat there.
I only half noticed these noisy guys who had come in. I cannot tell you anything about one of the guys. But, the one that is in my head was white, had longish sandy blonde hair, not the clearest skin, but not ugly. Light colored shirt. They were talking loudly. Maybe they were already singing. Like they were high or drunk. My friend and I walked towards the exit. We were passing them. The blonde guy pinned us against the wall. He was singing, then he ambushed us. It happened very fast. His arms were over us, but not touching. his hands on either side of us. He leaned in so close to me I could smell his warm breath. He was singing “Good girls don’t, good girls don’t, but I do.” The Knack song. I had never heard it before then. Now, here is the funny thing about human responses in a crisis. I was a mouthy, wise cracker then ( as now). My friend was quiet, soft. But, in that moment I was frozen. I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do. My gentle friend on the other hand, did. She grabbed my hand and broke hard against his arm and ran dragging me behind her. Once she bolted, I thought, oh, yeah, run. But, had I been alone, I don’t know if and when that would have ever kicked in. That’s why when people say, well, why didn’t so and so do this or that I think STFU, you have no idea how you will react. I want to think I’ll be like the Rock in a movie, but I doubt it.
We ran all the back down Robertson to our campus. When we got there students were hanging out on our tiny patch of asphalt. I remember us telling a few of them, “oh, this creepy guy grabbed us…” But, I don’t recall having “Let’s go tell the teachers. Let’s call the police” thoughts. No one suggested it either. I was shaken and grossed out. I was embarrassed we had gone all the way to Taco Bell. It was our fault we went down there. Which some people did comment on.. “Oh, you can’t go that far down the street”
Life went on. I had been out of touch with that friend, but a few years ago we reconnected. We enjoy going to drink wine or have dinner. I said something about that icky neighborhood we went to school in. “Oh, we bought our house near there.” She said, not thinking it icky at all.
“Oh, I’m sure it has changed” I said, not wanting to insult her neighborhood
One night I said to her, “I really want to thank you for being so brave and grabbing my hand that day in the Taco Bell when they gross guy cornered us. I was frozen with fear.”
She had NO IDEA what I was talking about. She didn’t remember it at all.
Does that mean it didn’t happen? No. But, if that guy who sang the Knack song was up for a Supreme Court Seat and I told my story would I be believed? I know it happened. I also know that when I hear that song ..almost 30 years later, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
Being a Pro Hillary, Non Trump person I have felt kind of like the Grinch. We take the trappings of Christmas away and Christmas comes anyway.
It comes without mandate!
It comes without civility
It comes without logic, equality and voting rights!
It comes with Putin, voter suppression, the FBI meddling and Newt!
But, it comes nonethless.
My kids were making fun of Donald Trump before I barely noticed him as a viable candidate. The kids got it first. He was a big presence. They don’t like him and I say, you guys I’ve lived a lot longer than you all and I’m telling you, this is NOT the kind of person we have as a president. People usually at least try to be gentleman and mend fences. Not here.
So, as I prepare to March Saturday ( I hope to get some protesting in Friday too, but I have to work, so you know work/life/protest balance) I keep thinking, what is on my sign?
There is the I can’t accept you dude genre: “Repeal and Replace Donald Trump” Which is kind a cool because it sticks up for ACA too. Or “I’m not with him”. But, since he is in, I’m not sure that strikes the right tone.
There are the single issue signs. Several protest Friday in LA focus on Immigration rights and protecting the Dreamers. So many good causes to champion in the age of Trump. Protecting the climate ( 2016 was THE hottest year on record Don), Health care, funding for education, housing, safeguarding financial system, etc, etc. As long as no on is threatening harm to a human I’m down with whatever sign.
As a woman I certainly do NOT feel represented and was looking forward to seeing someone who looked like me as POTUS. Who had to get her clothes ready for work and give her child attention while she had cramps and nag her husband to help her unload the dishwasher. Who had been a solid professional, but had men look at each other in a meeting while was ignored. Who was shushed so a man could be heard. I’m very sad at the large amount of white woman who did not vote for Hillary. “Something about her I don’t like”. Was John Kerry or Al Gore the kings of personality? Did they always ring authentic? No, but I supported them because their policies more closely aligned with me. Sadly a confluence of internalized misogyny and lure of celebratory and lack of critical thinking won the day. So, that woman will not take the oath.
So, I keep thinking.. when the whoos down in whoo ville circle up, what do I want them to see on my sign? ( not that many will see it, but go with me)
Some say, don’t go too negative. Trump will just dismiss critics. Maybe true, but I also need to do this for my own self expression. So, I’m going to have a two sided signs. One is a suggestion for how I think our future POTUS should act and one is a cause that I would like us to unify around.
One side was a friend of friends idea: “We need a leader, not a tweeter”. His assault on our psyche with that nonsense needs to stop. Most of us plebs tweet and blog because we have no platform otherwise. This guy is the most famous dude in the world. Why is acting like a teenager? What no snap chat?
The other is to support the first thing I ever marched for as a kid: ERA. The Equal Rights Amendment. It never passed. That’s right. It is NOT in our constitution that women are equal. So, I think I’ll throw on my “Don’t blame me, I voted for her” T-shirt and hold up my sign. There is a great article HERE that holds out hope that sometimes the leader you think is your worst enemy can surprise you.
The best thing I can say about him now is I hope he surprises me. I hope you acts more inclusive, rational. But, I doubt it.
I’m still with her.
But, I’m at a loss of what to say to my kids. There is all the stuff any good parent says to their kids: “Be kind, be smart, do your homework, treat people with respect, do onto others, be humble, don’t grab women’s pussy’s.” But, it rings hollow now because the guy who just got elected broke all those rules and is being richly rewarded.
Why did women vote for him? You really think he will create jobs Michigan? Why is he building a wall against Canada?
I am proud of Hillary Clinton. She worked so hard. She put up with abuse and ridicule that 99.9% would have crumbled under. She came so very close. She won the popular vote. Last night I had hoped to sit between my mother and daughter and cheer the first ever female president of the US. Instead I held my daughter and niece as they sobbed and my mom had already left saying “I can’t take it.”
By saying I’m with her I also mean I’m with people of color and immigrants, gays, handicapped, POW’s, my gosh, our Generals! All the people President Elect Game Show host has insulted in his 18 month campaign.
This morning as Vivien cried, “Mommy, what do we do?” I said, “I don’t know.” So, it was all the more helpful when Hillary talked right to her.
“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.”
We must keep reminding them this in the face of living in a country which elected a man who boasted about grabbing women’s privates, who condescended to Hillary all the time. In the face of having watched the debates where she was vastly more articulate and informed than him and yet, she will not be the president.
I‘m with her means I salute my mom, a life long feminist. I was a little girl when the ERA wasn’t ratified and now, years later… sigh.. same old story. The old white boys club. The FBI, Trump, GOP and some misguided working class people who think he is their champion.
I resent that he is a guy who never did a day of community work in his life. There is commitment to public service. I’m wondering the point of all of mine. I’m discouraged.
I’m with her because I’m not going to be a nice little girl and go away. I’m a proud Nasty Woman and I’m staying that way. History does not run on a smooth trajectory. I know this election is on the wrong side of history, but we are on this zig zag nonetheless.
I’m with her because I’m going to support my daughter and son to be feminists. Who judge a person by the content of their character. Brother, this President Elect is wanting in that department.
Would have been nice instead of talking about polls… that were wrong.. if the media had EVER done a compare and contrast with the candidates policies. But, who am I kidding? It wouldn’t have changed the outcome in a society riddled with sexism and adoring of reality TV.
I was overjoyed that my country elected a man of color in ’08. Yay! My country isn’t as racist as I thought it was. But, it is as sexist as I thought it was. SEXISM RUNS THROUGH ALL COLORS AND CULTURES.
I’m still in shock. A cross between being jilted, a death, a bit of 9/11, of “what world is this?” feeling. But, when I manage to wash my hair again I hope to have a plan. Because a big part of me wants to become a hermit and live deep in Michigan.. if only to vote in the next election.
I think I have a problem.
I can’t stop volunteering.
A few months ago I was elected head of my neighborhood association. 10 Saturdays out of the year I run the meetings, bring the refreshments and in general voice the concerns of our community to the city. So far I threw a block party, helped get some trees planted, advocated for some issues with our local councilman, and got a website up.
The jewel in my unpaid work history was my mayoral appointment to the Central Area Planning Committee. Roughly twice a month I am one vote on planning issues that come before us. I get to go to city hall and I have a laminated pass. Never has anyone felt so excited to be accepted as a civil servant. Maybe because of all the years of freelancing, I like going to an important building with a clip on badge and working.. albeit with no salary.
I’m also on a few committee’s for my daughter’s school. ( charter, underfunded). So I take some interest in the school board races. There are few that do. It’s pretty un sexy, but in LA we have a mammoth school district and unlike other cities the mayor and the council have no control over them. So, it’s a whole other empire. Charter’s, while somewhat apart from regular public schools, still must be granted their charter through the school district. So, the LA school board is “our” school board as well. Teacher’s unions tend to not like charters because the teacher’s are outside of the union. Charter’s are suspicious of teacher’s unions and afraid they will try to shut them down.
My take on all this is that parent’s are discerning consumers of education. So, charter’s magnets, traditional, private they will be existing with each other. But, we need to put our best foot forward. There are people in our area who would be interested in going to the local public school, but they don’t offer tours. “Why?’ is what we have heard more than once when calling the school…that sound you here is the interested parent filling out an application for a charter lottery. No surprise, it’s under enrolled. A mile away a traditional public school does do tours and shows itself well. That school is humming along.
So, heard some charter parents were rally around one candidate in a special election to be held August 12th. Good lord, the only thing lamer than having a special election in the dog days of summer would be starting school that day. OH, that is what LA unified is doing. I spoke to some of my political mentors about one candidate, George McKenna. He is a retired teacher and administrator. Years ago they made a “Stand and Deliver” type movie about his work turning around a tough school starring Denzel Washington. A friend set up a lunch for us to meet and I went, even though he looks nothing like Denzel. While not a movie star, I found a charming Southern man who was very thoughtful and earnest about helping children. Before I could order an ice tea he was talking about trying to get mental health services to students in LA schools who come from troubled places. It was one of the concerns that reminded me of how vast the LA school system is. By the way since I was a kid I have thought the district should be broken up, but fat chance of that happening. But, what can happen is for the grip to be loosened a bit on school so that a school can cater to their particular community. This was something Mckenna and I agreed on. Well, we agreed on quite a bit. From the good deviled egg appetizer to how a lousy principal can sink a school.
I told him, look the charter’s are scared of you. He didn’t know why. “I’ve gone on record as saying if a local school is working, charters wouldn’t exist”. He was surprised the Teacher’s union backed him because of this. He believes in traditional, charters, magnets, whatever works for children, not one ideology. I was touched by his sincerity and persuaded by his intellect and experience. He is being outspent. “Can Denzel give you some money?”
“I don’t know how to get to him.” he said.
So, before my after lunch espresso arrived I volunteered AGAIN.
“George, maybe I can throw you an event.” My dear husband was eager to hear about my lunch. Later we attended a political meeting that a neighbor of ours had invited us too. On the way out he met George. The candidate was walking by himself having just thanked the group we were attending for their support and was on to the next.
“You need to go to 5 events a day.” Mark said earnestly.
“I wish it was only 5.” George said in his honey dripping accent.
We walked away and Mark said, “Let’s do grilled cheese.” He was totally on board. We must have done at least 3 grilled cheese events for Garcetti. Now that the famous Thursday grilled cheese nights at Campanile are gone for good, it might be a bit of a draw for folks. Former council members Nate Holden and Jan Perry who are my friends are also hosting.
The story has been picked up by a local online publication. Come by if you care about educating the young, or just want to eat. Don’t make my volunteering in vain!
Today is the 5th year anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest. And they said it wouldn’t last!
CNBC called me a few days ago and asked me if I would go on camera and talk about how I am coping as a Madoff victim. The producer said she had just spoken to someone who said “they had moved on.” Some people she said “are relunctant to talk about something so painful.”
Me: “That’s cool, I’ll talk, I’ve been coughing up my soul for years.” (cut to montage of my solo shows, stand up, vlogging, after too many drinks at a party) I was the lead plantiff in a class action suit against Stanley “died before convicted” Chais so I have not been a shrinking violet when it comes to my absconded retirement fund. I’ve always been ENRAGED.
As is often the case with these things I don’t love the way it was edited. First off, none of my funny lines made it in. Like when it came up about Madoff talking from prison and I said, “I don’t want to hear a thing from that guy. Unless, it’s hey, Daphne, there is a box of money I kept hidden and here is it’s location.”They didn’t get me choking up, tears in my eyes.
Can I direct this thing?
Also, the other woman who they interviewed talks about getting the money she originally invested. She must have been a direct investor. We weren’t so we didn’t get anywhere near it. But, whatever. Here is another few minutes in the reality show called my life! CLICK HERE There is an EP of Madoff
suckers victims here. But, scroll down past his ugly mug to the vid with us. I’m glad they got the part about OTHER people, with their own ugly mugs, who have not had to pay the piper. Yet.
The producer said I was good on camera. I suggested I host a show for CNBC called, “How not to invest.” She laughed.
Well, someone is reading my tweets. I was contacted by a local reporter recently about a rant I did in the summer! Trying, but thwarted, from speaking before the LA city council. Here is a link to the story To hear.. the audio click HERE
While I waited for hours my friend , retired councilman Nate Holden kept me company.
But, when he left for lunch and I was starting on hour 3 of waiting I asked to speak to someone from my council office. I wanted it known that I was here for public comments and that apparently public comments was for the public to Hear, not be Heard. My council’s rep, rep said they agreed, but it wasn’t their show. Hurumph.
So, my take on the package that was passed was never heard, but my take on the process was, so that’s something…I guess.
I’d do a video about this, but I have a cold, dirty hair, no make up, pasty. I look like a neighbor of Honey Boo-Boo’s. Rex and I are home sick today. Nothing that we need a doctor for, but glad to know if we need one we can get one. Our family pays for it. A lot. Least we have it.
I would prefer a more European model– wait- rest of the entire world model– of cradle to grave coverage. Would taxes go up, probably, but 1) the US middle class is STUCK. Upward mobility is not what it use to be and people need to be covered. 2) let’s change resources from the military industrial complex. I know, I’m a big hippie with big dreams. I also want people I don’t even know to have coverage.
My finger is hovering over the keyboard to sign up because it will probably save us a few hundred a month. Not a lot, but something.
I do not understand the Ted Cruz’s of this USA. How are people suppose to get care? Do they not know anyone who was ever denied coverage? Its it just survival of the fittest for them? I don’t get it.
Let’s join the rest of the world and give our citizens at least basic healthcare coverage. Let’s join the 20th century, a century late.
Oh, and let’s join the majority of the world and stop routinely circumcising baby boys. But, that’s another post..
some days I wish I was still regularly doing stand up. One moment was yesterday as I heard a BBC anchor interview a guy about the America’s Cup race.
“Has yachting always been a rich man’s sport?” Had a been mid drink I would have shot the liquid out of my nose. What answer did he expect?
” No, in the 1890’s in reaction to the rigors of the industrial revolution workers collectives formed yachting co-ops.” Or
“At the height of the depression hobo’s would sometimes jump off a freight train and join their ranks on yacht’s near Nantucket. Here is a picture of Joe Kennedy toasting his fellow sailor. Yes, that one, the one without the shoes.”
I just did a vigorous work out class. It occurred to me that it would be a lot easier just not to eat.
Rex was interviewed at school. “My dad is a chef, my sister is Vivien. I have no idea what my mother does. My brother is in college. He needs to find a job.” The teachers typed it up and put it in a frame. So now the whole school can see that I’m inconsequential and his brother is a lay about.
I have to start coaching him and ask for another interview.
” Cmon, Rex, let’s go over this again. Mommy has been a TV Host for years. Look here is a photo of when I had a billboard for a show I was on.” I need something to boost me up at drop off. I can well imagine how this re-interview would go , ” My mom use be on a board. She looks much better in full make up.” Maybe I need to spice it up. Something like this, “My mom is a rocket scientist and does EVERYTHING for me and my family. Her legs, did you see how good her legs are?” As I looked at the frame today one of his teachers laughed, “kids, they have no filter.”
Ha, ha, you want to hear what he says about you?
Be sure to tip your waitress
It’s the season for it.. Weiner, Spitzer, Filner.
Anthony Weiner needs to drop out of the NYC Mayor race. Yes, I’m sure he has been waiting for my call on this. Eliot Spitzer is sort of bugging me too.
Now, I am an old ’90’s Clinton loving, just wash the dress and moe on kind of gal so why would I turn on these dudes? Well, number one I’m more annoyed with Carlos Danger. As a hard core local volunteer I can’t see dragging my kids around to support a guy who tweets his hard ons. Clinton had already done things to make me like him, other than being a good liberal mouthpiece on MSNBC I don’t have a reason to rally to his defense. Here are some other issues I have with Mr. Weiner:
1) not enough time. Feed the starving, meditate, host basic cable news shows before you run for office again
2) stop dragging that nice lady into this. That’s your wife. I use to see Huma when I was a Hillary volunteer.
4) Kids sexting is a problem and you are a bad example. If we tell our kids that sexting exploits them and can harm their chances of getting into college or a job, but we give you a pass and elect you mayor our argument falls flat. You don’t need to wear a scarlet letter A, but you don’t need to lead the biggest city in the nation either.
5) I don’t believe you. You lied when the news broke back two years ago, now it’s more half truths.
4) Maybe a vote, but no support. Having just knocked myself out, “Hi, Mayor Garcetti!”, for a mayoral candidate I know how a volunteer in a city election has to really vouch for that candidate. I started to feel like an Amway salesperson. Have I asked Joe and Jane, my good friends who they are voting for? Did I ask Mel? Oh, he lives in Santa Monica, forget it, I’ll see him after the election. I think it’s terrible to ask people to disrupt their lives like that when you are not putting yourself to the highest of standards. Look at San Diego! They have that Sleeze ball Filner who needs to take the Tijuana Trolley out of that fine city. His own fiancée is trashing the guy for being an old lech. San Diego is a great place, but it has the same problems of homelessness, employment, development, schools that other places has. It needs a person without chaos who can focus on the issues. I think Weiner likes chaos. ( arm chair psych).
5) Elliot Spitzer controller? Well, I do have a softer spot for him because I think he is very bright and I liked his politics and tenacity and facing down the fat cats. But, he also liked cat houses, which is so stupid at his level of fame. I have more room in my heart to forgive him that Carlos. But, gee, that guy, whose name I don’t know, who was going to get that comptroller job, maybe he deserves it. I don’t think Spitzer should run in the year of Weiner. It gives him the creepy dick cooties even more than he already has.
I’m sure there are better candidates in NYC. Not that I know that much about them. I get most of my information from my phone.