Well not literally, but I do see things that most people don't (want to). I have all my life and when I was a kid, I got beat for it.
I feel it in my gut, the second something isn't right. I use humor to expose it a lot of the time, but sometimes I just say it straight up.
A memory just came to my mind as I am writing this.
Growing up, I was 3 years younger then my sister and her friends, so of course, I always wanted to hang around with them.
When I was around three, we would play in our back yard and they would go outside the gate and I would follow.
When my mother caught me she tied me to a pole so that I wouldn't do it again.
Then when I was around 8 or 9, we were in Vermont and the girls got to stay in our cottage by themselves while I had to go with my mother and father to a party down the street.
My mother told the girls that they were to save some candy for me.
When we got home, the girls were sitting at the table and there was one green leaf left in the dish.
I said something. I was so mad because I knew they were fucking with me.
My mother proceeded to beat the shit out of me. She punched me from the couch to the chair and back again.
All while the girls turned their heads and watched through the reflection of the window.
This beating did not make me feel like I was wrong, it made me feel like I would die if I stuck up for myself.
Now I think about what happened at the theater the other night.
I walked in and the floor was a completely different color from all the other times I had done my show there. It also had stickers and scratches all over it.
I was mad. I said to the assistant, “I realize that you guys have other shows going on during the week, but I never knew the floor was going to change and it's a mess. I need some level of respect.”
To which the guy who runs the theatre screamed, "FUCK YOU, don't you dare come in and frown at the floor, I've been working all fucking day here. Fuck you, don't do your show!"
To which I responded, "We'll talk about this after my show"
He kept going, "Fuck you! You're not doing your show, don't you fucking tell me what to do!"
He chased me into my dressing room.
I was by myself, but I had people outside waiting to see the show and the irrationality almost paralyzed me
You know why? Because when you get beat like that as a kid, it takes a lifetime to figure out what is acceptable behavior.
I said to myself, "Sue you don't deserve this" and packed up my stuff.
As soon as I walked out the door the "strangers" mind you, who were there to see the show, asked what happened.
I told them and their response was, "OMG Sue that's terrible. Do you need us to go back in there with you? There is strength in numbers."
When they said that, it registered just how bad this whole thing was.
You see, there was still a part of me who thought I should take it, that I should not speak up for myself, but that was when I was a kid, when I needed a place to live, when the adults were in charge of me.
This time I was a grown woman. I don't need that guy. And I especially never need to be treated like that. I didn't have an advocate when I was little but I sure as hell have one now, and it's me.
Another customer showed up and went right into the guy who runs the theater and said, “It doesn't matter what went on. The proof is in the fact that you have 30 people outside to see a show and you are turning them away."
She told him that he was dumb because he was losing business and that all those people would never come back to see a show at his theater.
One woman said that I should call the police. I did. Because in the past I’ve been in these kinds of situations and didn't realize the severity of them because of my past, only to wish I had later.
Well the cops show up, and the woman police officer said, "This will probably be harassment." And the the two male cops went inside.
They came out and pretty much yelled, "It was a loud argument, that's all. Nothing happened — you had an artistic disagreement."
I was shocked, then he said he has 2 witnesses.
I asked, " You mean the girl who lives in the basement with the guy who freaked out and the priest who lives in the homeless shelter on the other side of the basement?"
I did not have a written contract with the theater but I had a verbal contract which was implied by the signs outside and the customers.
Then the other cop said to me, "In the future if you don't have a written contract and they ask you to leave and you don't, you can be arrested for trespassing."
Mind you, he was saying this to me as I was on the sidewalk outside.
I picked up my set and carried it to the end of the street.
Thinking My God will the bullies always win?
I spoke to my friend, who doesn't miss a trick either, and said, "The priest probably got to the cops. I bet they were either Irish or Italian, and I bet they do the same to their wives."
To which I replied, “And the girlfriend and the priest were protecting their homes.” I had a little compassion because I remembered how scared I was as a kid that I would lose my home if I stuck up for myself.
And the end result is: I'm walking away. The dark doesn't win unless I let it.
The priest, the girl and the guy who manages the theater can keep protecting their homes in the basement. The cops can keep being scared by the priests and intimidating women and I will move on to bigger and better places.