My office no longer has a receptionist, which means that every time someone comes through the front doors they ring a bell and someone gets up from their desk to greet them.
Usually that person is me and usually the person ringing the bell is FedEx/UPS/USPS needing a signature for a package.
I do not mind this process. At this point in my employment, our regular delivery guys have learned how to spell my last name and they are very polite.
Except for one.
He comes around 4 in the afternoon a couple times a week. Every time he sees me walk to the front desk he sort of rolls his eyes in the “Not you again” way. Because no matter how many times I spell it for him, he can’t seem to remember the order of the twelve letters in my last name. Our interactions started off fine; he just asked me to slowly spell it for him while he punched it into the machine. One day he asked me if that was my married name or my family name. I replied that it was my family name. He told me I should marry someone with a shorter and easier last name.
Noted. Let me just go add that to the list of qualities that I require from the men I date because that is clearly of utmost importance.
For weeks our conversations repeated the same cycle – married name or family name, how I should marry someone with a better last name. I can only attribute his repetitiveness to an undiagnosed case of amnesia. It got increasingly annoying to the point where when I was busy and didn’t feel like listening to him again, a coworker would go sign for that package to spare me.
Last night I reached my breaking point. I walked to the front desk and reached for the device to sign, and he held it back.
“So I have a question for you.”
“Do you have a fiancé?”
“Will you marry me then?”
“Are you sure you don’t have a fiancé?”
“Yes I am sure I am too young to be married right now.”
“How old are you?”
“Okay you marry me next year then.”
I was not amused. I signed for the package and walked off, seething. My coworkers couldn’t understand why I was so upset. It was flattering that he said those things, he was just joking, don’t take it too seriously.
And you know, I probably could have laughed it off easily. A two-minute annoyance in my day doesn’t have to result in me calling my mom to rant about respect and business interactions and being a woman.
But this incident comes on the heels of so many other things that make me angry.
The fact that there’s a serious chance that Planned Parenthood will be defunded.
That a state legislator in Georgia authored a bill making it a felony for a woman to have a miscarriage unless she could prove it was not intentional. Because the very thing that a woman wants to do after suffering the loss of her unborn child is defend herself in front of the courts. I don’t even care that this man is a lunatic who also doesn’t believe we should have public schools and that all transactions should be made with gold and silver because even if he is crazy, people have continued to vote him into office for the last 15 years.
I feel like we, as a country, are on the brink. We’ve spent the last few decades progressing and progressing, yet fighting it the entire way. And now we are at the apex of this fight where, if we win, there is the potential for smooth(er) sailing, and maybe we’ll still face discrimination and hate but at least the government will stop attempting to legislate our beliefs and personal choices. But if we lose, we lose big. We lose decades worth of progress and will find ourselves living in a world before Roe v. Wade and gay marriage and my peers and I will have no choice but to become the new leaders of the movement back towards progress.
I am fully prepared to make my stand, but I really hope I don’t have to.
So my coworkers, friends and family may be right – the incident with the delivery guy yesterday is, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal. Life goes on and I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ll have to deal with unwanted and inappropriate harassment in a business setting. Except that it reminds of everything else and then I get angry.
Angry, and a little scared for what’s on the other side of this apex.