Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Confrontational Woman

Last night I was returning some overdue library books. The library itself had been closed for a couple of hours - I had just planned to drop the books in the slot and run. As I pulled up to the curb to illegally park for a few seconds, I noticed something strange in the library parking lot. Men/boys. With dogs. Excited looking dogs straining on their leashes.

My heart jumped. This better not be what I think it might be, I said to myself, thinking that perhaps this was a Friday night dog fighting ring. Nothing makes me more sick and angry than any kind of animal abuse, and I find the idea of dog fighting unbelievably atrocious.

Instead of parking on the curb, I pulled into the parking lot with lights blazing. My heart was beating fast, and I was having a hard time breathing normally, but I was ready to jump out of my car, approach the people, and say "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Then I noticed that these dogs looked pretty young and small. And there were about 20 people - women too - evenly spaced in a symetric circle. Oops. It was clearly a dog obedience class. I was terribly relieved, and somewhat sheepish about my fear. After, all this is a library parking lot in Irvine, not a deserted warehouse in the inner city.

But the experience kind of showed just how far I've come in my abilities to confront people. I am not naturally confrontational at all. I spent the first 20 years of my life ducking out of any type of lime light or difficult situation and trying to avoid public speaking of any sort. But I've seen myself become much more assertive in the past few years. No doubt a lot of that is from teaching high school, as well as a developing moral certainty that one must speak up and confront certain certain cruelties and injustices. It's difficult and scary for me still, but I'm glad to know I can do it.


Blogger jana said...

Good for you Caroline :)

5/01/2006 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Funny... I would never guess you dislike confrontation from your behavior at home. (Ha!)

5/01/2006 10:27 PM  

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