I board the bus heading to work this morning. The driver wishes me “good morning,” I return the favor, tap my SmartTrip card and head to the back of the bus where I find an available seat. I get lost in space as I read my book.
At Rosslyn, a man comes on the bus, looking mad as I don’t know what. He’s rambling, cursing about this or that, and just gives me this bad vibe. He sits two seats down from me, clumping his backpack down between us really hard. He pulls out his paper, cursing while he reads.
He says something to me, but I ignore it, thinking he’s saying something ignorant. Then I chose to move away from him, and he gets pissed.
“Fuck you,” he says. “When a black man tries to talk to you, you run away, but when a white man talks to you you smile and get all happy. Stuck up black bitch! You love the white man’s dick. You’ll suck a white man’s dick! You ain’t shit anyway. You ain’t got no ring on your finger. Ain’t no one want you. And you got knotty dreads – nasty. You probably ain’t wash yo’ dreads ‘cuz you afraid…”
All this nonsense when I was trying to read a damn book!
I pull out my phone…
“Go ahead, call someone! You ain’t got no one to talk to,” he says.
…and take his photo in the rare moment he wasn’t looking. Then I head to the front of the bus, away from this fool, and ask the driver to call the police.
“This guy is on the back of the bus cursing at me for no reason at all,” I said. “Telling me I suck white man’s dick and other nonsense.”
The guy walked up front from the back of the bus and starts saying more crap! He’s directly behind me at this point.
“I opened a window and she got all scared and moved away!” the crazy man yelled. “I tried to ask her about the window and she ignored me and moved away.”
“I didn’t realize you opened a window!” I said. “You were sitting at the back of the bus, cursing and ranting, talking about me sucking white man’s dick—“
“Watch your mouth!” the driver snapped. “You two need to stop.”
Why was I getting blamed? I didn’t raise my voice or curse, and I was only repeating what the guy had been saying to me.
“Go ahead, cry and whine to the driver,” the crazy guy continues. “You all fine until someone insults you, then you want to cry like a baby.”
“I am not crying,” I said, calmly. “You don’t see me crying.” This was so frustrating.
The crazy guy goes to the back of the bus, still ranting and cursing, and a nice gentleman gave up his seat in the front of the bus so I could get away from this guy. I had the foresight to have Metro Police’s number on my phone, so I called them, described the guy, told them the bus route and bus number, and where we were located at. Sure, the driver can tell me “good morning” but he’s pretty much useless for anything else.
The crazy guy got off a few stops before I did, so I called Metro Police back to let them know that.
“You’ve just gotta stay humble,” the guy at the front of the bus said. “Guys like him are everywhere. All you can do is keep your cool, don’t let it get to you…” and stuff I was just too distracted to take in at the moment.
When I got off the bus I thanked the guy and told him to have a good day. Yet I feel numb. I’m just so used to being sexually harassed that I’m surprised I didn’t start getting angry, or cursing, or crying or showing some kind of emotion. All those people on that bus just sat there and watched me get cursed out and called names because I chose to ignore a crazy lunatic on the bus. Is this like Pay-Per-View or morning entertainment to them?
Things need to change. Not only do harassers need to be held accountable for what they do, the people who sit idly by and watch this stuff happen need to do so as well.
Location: 38B towards Farragut Square (Bus #2600), Washington DC