11/21/12: “Lena, you were told you were going to get a warning if you took out your anger on people.”
November 21, 2012
I was coughed at by guests of the shelter from the second that I walked in the door, the way that I have been at every shelter where I’ve stayed.
This is the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.
Tonight, I finally lost my temper when one man sat a few feet behind me and kept coughing, and then the one next to me started turning to the side and sneezing. I told the guy behind me to stop it; I told him to stop being a f—ing pig, which is what he was being.
He yelled at me, telling me not to swear at him.
I said “You’re sexually harassing me!”
He said “I am not!”
I said “Yes, you are; you’re trying to imply that my vagina smells, and that’s sexual harassment.”
He was spoken to by one of the students who was managing the shelter.
Then, the same student insisted that I speak with him, also. I was in the process of uploading a video of being stalked by a Harvard University police car; the computers here are very slow for that, it can take an hour to upload one video. I didn’t want to leave the computer with my blogs still logged in. I was reluctant to go; he insisted, saying that the guy who guards the door would watch the computer. When the conversation was over, the guard was nowhere to be seen.
The student director kept rubbing his nose while he was talking to me. I was told that if I reacted to the abuse, I’d get a warning.
The coughing has continued; it’s going on now.
Some other student volunteers have shown up. The one who is sitting behind me, talking to another homeless guest and laughing, just rubbed her nose when she looked at me. The other student who’s directing the shelter tonight was sitting in the chair next to mine. I couldn’t help saying something to the student who rubbed her nose at me. I said “You have no idea how disgusting your behavior is, do you?”
The student director started to say “Lena, Lena,” in the “You’re being difficult” warning tone of voice that people who are doing something wrong to someone often use. She then said “You were told that you were going to get a warning if you took your anger out on people.”
I said “Fine. I’ll take the warning. Let’s just be famous about it.”
What’s the coughing? What’s the sneezing? What’s the nose-rubbing? What’s the stalking? What are the threats? What’s the videotaping? What’s the constant abuse? What are the constant lies about what it all means and the fact that it’s happening at all? That’s not anger? It’s just people having a good time at my expense? That’s better, is it? Better than my ever getting angry about it?
Copyright L. Kochman, November 21, 2012 @ 1:11 a.m./more coughing by a male, homeless guest/editing & addition @ 1:13 a.m.