The weekend’s good thing: driving out to the lake house went well again. Ted had taken the week off, since he’s got vacation time to burn, and gone down there with the cats, though I’m under the impression that he still ended up working more than not. He’s not good at working less. I drove out to meet him, so being bak together was nice, and also the drive does seem to be getting easier. Partly I’m sure it’s practice, but I do think the DARE book has helped too. I listen to one of the audios at the start of each drive, just as a reminder.

The weekend’s bad thing: After a row on very rough water, I was putting my oars down Saturday when I threw my back out – something went twannng! and hurt for a few seconds, and then it felt achy and fragile for a while. It is mostly better – a massage I happened to have scheduled yesterday helped – but still aches it I sit too long. I haven’t rowed or erged since then, but planned to try it last night.

Yesterday’s good thing: my new desk finally arrived! It took forever because Pottery Barn managed to omit one essential piece while shipping it to their warehouse. I don’t think it would ever have arrived, if I hadn’t kept calling and escalating. But it got there yesterday morning, and then I realized that since I was working from home anyway, I could take a lunch break and go get the peripherals I needed, because working at a nonoptimal setup was not helping my back. Ted has an office in our house for his home conputer, plus another setup in a spare bedroom where he has a table and monitor he can plug his work laptop into, but I’d never had a real desk because I don’t like working at a proper desk if I can be on a couch. I wrote my whole book at the dining room table. But now, with early and late meetings, I’m doing enough work that I need a big monitor and proper keyboard, which means it needs everything else for a functional work environment. So now I have my very own desk and all the accoutrements (except I’m still stealing one of Ted’s chairs, because I’m not sure what I want for myself).

Yesterday’s (slightly) bad part: four skeins of yarn arrived in the mail, as part of a traveling swap – the idea is that you take one or more yarns you like, replace them with comparable yarn from your own stash and send it on. But there was nothing in there I liked, so I guess I will be sending on the whole box. (It’s good quality, but not to my taste.)

The good part of today: I was waiting for a conference room and as the people from the previous meeting were walking out, one of them took a look at me and said “Paula???” It took me a few minutes to realize who he was, but we shared a cube once for about six months – a different company in a different state, about a decade and a half ago. It was fun to see him; it’s been a looooong time. Since then we’ve both moved into other industries; all my Six Sigma, expat and author experience have happened since then. Back then, he was a recent grad in his first software engineer job, wearing a t-shirt and holey jeans; now he’s mid-career, with apparently some direct reports of his own. He’s grown up well. It’s been a looooong time – since then we’ve both moved into other industries; all my Six Sigma, expat and author ex

(Unfortunately, the main shared experience I remember was that one of his close co-workers, a fit man in his fifties, droped dead while jogging. So I didn’t want to bring that up!)

The bad part of today is that I may need to back off on some of my social media, because people are beginning to irritate me – and in both cases, it’s mostly other feminists. In one case, someone who has a history of being condescending and spiky said something that felt denigrating to me. I’m not denying that it doesn’t seem to be what she intended, and she herself did apologize a bit if she’d worded it badly, which is all I was ever hoping for, so it’s better not to engage further anyway. But I am bemused at the people who normally are all about “you have the right to your own feelings” jumping out to tell me how wrong I am.

And then there is the “me too” thing. As it happens, I have never been sexually harassed, abused or raped. I appear to be in a small minority here. I realize it’s nothing but luck on my part, having seen women smarter and stronger than I am go through some horrible experiences. Of course I’ve had catcalls, but very few – a couple of whistles, and maybe one disgusting call-out. Of course I’ve encountered systematic sexism. I live in the world as it is. But I haven’t been groped, I’ve never been pressured into sex, I’ve never been threatened, or treated unfairly in overt ways – or the couple of times things might have gone that way, I’ve had people to notice and stand up for me – even when it was as innocuous as girls being required to wear skirts to a fifth grade dance when boys could get away with jeans, my mother wrote a note to the teacher. I’ve had at least one teacher who (I just found out) harassed some other girls – but he didn’t do it to me (possibly because I looked like a child at that age) and I didn’t even know about it at the time. The closest thing to inappropriate touching was a coworker who came up behind me and rubbed my shoulders – and I told him to stop. He wasn’t in any position of authority and our company had clearly stated anti-harassment policies they stood behind, so I had recourse. Or there was the stranger who literally leaned across me to hit on a friend of mine. I was not sexually harassed; I was inconvenienced by rudeness and ignored in a stunning display of bad manners – though I bet my friend feels she was harassed, because he was a bit creepy and kept telling her how much he was like his old girlfriend.

I am going into this level of detail (and have detailed other instances on FaceBook) to make the point that I remember the things that have happened to me. I am not in denial. I am not denying there has been some sexism, and I certainly do think these sorts of microaggressions contribute to the rape culture we have. But it has never risen to the level of harassment and abuse, and I find it paradoxical that I am now being told by avowed feminists that I am not competent to judge my own life experiences.

I think this is an important point. I’ve even seen it drawn as a triangle, with common microagresssions at the base rising to rape, shown as a rare thing, up at the point. I’m somewhere within that base, for sure, but I think it’s very important to make people realize that rape and abuse are not rare. I know woman after woman after woman with horrible stories to tell. Life-changing stories. Violence, or betrayal by people in positions of power and trust, or climates that left them unable to live their lives as they want and take the jobs or classes they chose. It’s epidemic. Yes, we need to crack down on microagressions because they contribute to the acceptance of macroaggression – but I will not be part of anything that allows anyone to assume that all the “me, too” comments are speaking of minor problems. Each woman, including me, has the right to determine for herself what rises to the level of aggression and harassment, and I know enough of my sisters’ stories to know what a huge festering sinkhole this is. I’ve been lucky, and somehow haven’t fallen in. What I want to say is, DON’T push me.