I cleaned the bathroom well and mopped the floor. The bathroom no longer stank. I put in the passdown a notice that I had finally cleaned the bathroom and it no longer stank and a request that we all participate in keeping it clean. I left a note on the bathroom door that read:
Please be respectful of your fellow officers
Please flush the toilet
Please put the toilet seat down
Please keep the toilet and the bathroom clean
We do not have janitors here
I sent this notice and my passdown to my supervisor explaining that they had finally touched on my Achilles Heel. I am a bit of an over the top feminist. I don’t hate men, but if I had a son he would be raised to respect women. I have zero tolerance for misogynistic men who feel women exist to change their diapers and then wipe their piss up off the floor. She called me back. She apologized. She hadn’t realized the extent of the issue I had been presenting. I told her I had spoken to the other female officer about this last week and she felt the same way. She had said, “Do they really think that we should clean it? You know I didn’t pee on the floor.” My supervisor assured me that I do not need to tolerate this. I should check the bathroom and if the post is not suitable, I should not accept the post. I should return to my car and call her. When, and only when, the post is acceptable should I accept the post. I told my supervisor that if I were married and my husband had done this, the very first time, I would tell him he had better figure this out quickly, because he is one day away from divorce.
Later that day I told my supervisor the following true story:
Many years ago I was a special education assistant at an elementary school. A little boy from the Middle East pushed his pencil off the table and said, “You need to pick that up because you are a woman.”
I said, “EXCUSE ME?! YOU, will pick it up, and then you will write a note to your parents.” I asked him if he treated his mother this way and explained that he is in America now, and here at school he will be expected to show respect for women. I had him write a note explaining what had happened and that he would be expected to show respect for women at school. His parents came to see me. They were deeply apologetic and assured me that he was expected to show respect for women at home as well.
We agreed that the only people in America who are not immigrants are the Native Americans. They asked me about my own cultural heritage. I told him that I was a quarter German, a quarter Icelandic, and the rest was all mutt. A few days later the boy brought me a gift. It was a pen. I thanked him, but not enough. The teacher I worked with saw the gift and was stunned. He recognized it as being Montblanc, a German made pen, worth, at the time, over $100.00. He recognized the logo, a six pointed star.
I used the term “Middle East” when referring to the boy to my supervisor because I wasn’t sure if the boy had been from Iran, or Bosnia. I was 90% sure he had been from Iran. Now I am 100% sure. I understand why I wasn’t sure. We had Bosnian refugees at the school at the time. I brought up the war in Bosnia with this boy’s parents. The Bosnian Serbs used rape as weapon of war against Bosnian Muslim women. I explained that I had never been too interested in getting involved in wars between other nations, but with this news I was ready to put on my army fatigues and move out. I would have shot up a lot of men, from both sides. There were men guilty of the same crime on both sides, and from my perspective this was a gender war. Women’s bodies are not the battle fields of men!
I explained that I had been raped by my ex-husband. A marriage certificate is not a sales receipt. I told the boy’s parents that I understand that America is in no place to get self-righteous regarding the treatment of women. We have our flaws too. We have come a long way, but we have an ugly past as well, and we still have a long way to go. Black men received the right to vote before women. I’m not saying that they should not have the right to vote, I explained, but look at the history. We treated blacks as if they were subhuman, even beneath animals, in order to justify slavery. Then we gave black men the right to vote before white women. What does that say about the attitude toward women?
I assured this boy’s parents that I most certainly do respect diverse cultures. In fact it was something I loved about living in California. I had been raised in Utah. There had been two black children at my elementary school, a brother and sister. All of the rest of the children were white. At the school where I worked with their son, they had a cultural week. One day there would be an assembly in which there would be presentations representing the vast cultures that represented the population of our school. There would be traditional dancing from Samoa. Musicians playing bagpipes. Art displays of traditional clothing, kimonos and Native American bead work. On the last day lunch would be presented outside from tents with signs identifying the many counties from which the food originated. There would be Chinese food, traditional Mexican food, and food from India, Cambodia, Thailand and Greece... What I love most about America is the diversity. But there are cultural changes that would be an evolutionary improvement within every culture, and the treatment of women is one of those changes that is needed in all of them.
I told my supervisor that as I cleaned the post what I really wanted to be was someone’s momma saying, “You clean your room!” She assured me that was her job, and why she made the big bucks. I knew better than to tell her what I wanted to tell my male coworkers (If they want to get into a gender war I could start leaving my bloody tampons on the counter). Yes, it is unprofessional and beneath one as dignified as myself to say such a thing, or even think it. Now, I am “too contentious to be the Dalai Lama” and to uncouth to be, ummm, someone who is couth. Today I really like Honey Boo Boo.