Only got ten minutes to save the world...

Between the new baby and the Ph.D., this grad student only has ten minutes a day to philosophize culture. Bear with me as I tell you how to think...

all within a ten-minute writing limit.



How ‘bout this:

When I was twenty-two, I was a nanny of three, for all intents and purposes raising other people’s children at much too young of an age. It was during this time that I developed and nurtured my first sense of what I will call a well-earned entitlement, expressed perhaps most succinctly in my following oft-spit injunction: “you will respect me.”

I don’t know if it’s my indoctrination as a woman (a “Southern” woman at that), the attendant debilitating devotion to “politeness,” the usual self-doubt, or most likely a mixture of all of these and more, that has somehow across the years developed in me the following mental subtext: Defer. Even when you feel right and wronged, even when you dream of righteous comebacks on the drive home, defer.

Yesterday at the coffee shop the barista charged me twice what I pay every day. Five fucking dollars for a regular 12 coffee (in my own cup, I might add) and a refill. Five fucking dollars! Although it pained me greatly to do so, I approached the barista with first, an apology (typical), identified myself as a “pest” (typical), and finally suggested that she had charged me incorrectly. Blithely, glibly, smugly, delightedly, she insisted that my cup holds twenty ounces—patently false!; tells me “20 oz” is written on the back of my cup—an outright lie!; to which I respond weakly, “oh really” when what I actually mean is “you’re wrong, asshole,” but instead I pay the five dollars, the five fucking dollars, and then cry in the bathroom hate-tears drawn by this final straw on a bad day.

Today I got a “professional” email from a considerably higher-ranked colleague condescendingly and angrily admonishing me for crimes which this colleague commits with notorious and oblivious regularity. Proud hypocrisy was the nature of his tone. And I don’t know if it's yesterday’s coffee rip-off, my feminist sensibilities, a growing sense of political responsibility to refuse to accept your goddamn presumptuous condescension, or maybe just that good-old sense of well-earned entitlement marching out from the cave, club in hand—or, most likely, a mixture of all of these and more—that emboldens me now to respond—No. Not gonna smile, not gonna apologize, not gonna defer to your metaphorical dick-swinging.

That’s right.

I will not defer to your disrespect.

Hey, dude from my past who posts a series of increasingly insane comments to FB-shame me: fuck you. Not gonna play along. Defriended, foe.

Hey, square at the grocery store who asks me if I’ll ever be able to get a job with all these tattoos: fuck  you, I’m a genius. I’ve written things that would make you weep. But you won’t read them, because you, sir, are base. Later.

Hey, frenemy who embarrasses me in front of our friends by “calling me out” on any number of faults, from my song choices to my dance style to my killer fucking skills: you’re mean, dude. You are straight-up mean. You should be embarrassed. Fuck you.

I saved the goddamned receipt. I saved the email to remind myself of your rank-pulling. They can measure the cup for themselves before they refund me. You can pick up on the subtext of refusal in my professional tone. Nope. Not going to start not another conversation with “I’m sorry.” We, who have been taught, coerced, indoctrinated, rewarded for deferral, how ‘bout this: Nope. Blithe, glib, smug, delightedly: Nope.

I *disrespect* your disrespect, and I’m not sorry for it.

<minute ten.>


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