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Catcalls on New Hampshire Ave—and Some Callbacks

I am living in D.C. for the summer and commuting to work via train. I’m in a residential neighborhood approximately one mile away from the Fort Totten Metro station. It’s a green, suburban walk to the station and I see a lot of deer. I also get a lot of catcalls. Google Maps says it takes 23 minutes, but the ETA algorithm does not take into account catcall-induced acceleration. I can do it in 15. In order to get to work on time, I must quell the instinct to run up to the offenders and shake my fist. Here are the pieces of my mind I never ended up giving them. 


June 25, 2019 at 9:14 p.m. New Hampshire Ave. NE 

Lingered a little too long at the park near the Fort Totten Metro station observing a family of deer, and now it's dark out. We all know that the Honda Civic, particularly one of the mid-2000s variety, is fundamentally a sexless family vehicle. If the deer mama drove a car, she would drive a Honda Civic, and she would take the baby deer to soccer practice and yell at the baby deer on the way to the dentist for not flossing every day. In recent years, they have tried fruitlessly to increase the erotic appeal of the Honda Civic by introducing colors like "Burgundy Night Pearl" and "Modern Steel Metallic." Apparently, Honda Civics make up for their lackluster hue offerings with their energy efficiency. I never knew environmentalism and misogyny could coexist so happily. Not that the sex appeal of good fuel economy is lost on me — Prius? Fine. Chevy Volt? Great. Tesla? In a heartbeat — but I would honestly never fuck anyone who drives a Honda Civic. 



June 28, 2019 at 7:44 p.m. 1st Ave. NE 

Suppose that someone is blasting the early-aughts banger “My Neck, My Back” while driving at 5 mph on a residential road, and the passenger sitting shotgun sticks his head out the window. He makes eye contact with you before doing the up-and-down; your body feels gelatinous and transparent. The streets are narrow enough that he could touch you if he wanted. The last time you listened to this song was through an embedded YouTube link in the NPR Music feature “The 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women+.” When the car squeaks by, you imagine him sticking his hand out and reaching inside you. Now is not the time to be thinking about this situation in terms of its standup potential but there’s something funny about the possibility of being assaulted to the tune of a song about female pleasure. You could do a bit about it. About how he totally mishears the song. It’s true that some songs are kind of hard to understand. Like how in Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love, “you cut me open and I” sounds like “you call me your banana.” Or how in Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, “long list of ex-lovers” sounds like “lonely Starbucks lovers.” In Elton John’s Tiny Dancer “hold me closer tiny dancer” sounds like “hold me closer Tony Danza.” Or like how in Khia’s My Neck, My Back, “make sure I keep busting nuts” sounds like — should this be an actual pun, or should it be a total non-sequitur? It could be funny if it were a complete non-sequitur. Ignorant people are always funny, people who focus on the wrong things because they have blinders on are always funny. The car moves past, and he turns his head to continue staring. This is not a catcall; he didn’t say a word. What are other songs it would be funny to be catcalled to? No Scrubs by TLC. 



July 1, 2019 at 7:58 a.m. New Hampshire Ave. NE 

And I'm just like, damn, it's 7 AM. 



July 3, 2019 at 8:52 a.m. New Hampshire Ave. NE and S. Dakota Ave. NE 

In the fifth grade, my world history class was introduced to the concept of the Code of Hammurabi during the Mesopotamia unit. King Hammurabi believed in punishments that were proportional to the severity of the crime. If I, in my haste to arrive at work on time, run across the street, inadvertently cutting off a driver who must have the same intention, does that give him the right to tell me to “!@!$” his “@#$!”? 



July 8, 2019 at 8:44 a.m. New Hampshire Ave. NE and Peabody Ave. NE (aka Stop ID: 1002698)

I just realized that as of the beginning of July, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is now tacking on free unlimited bus privileges to the unlimited Metrorail pass I already purchased. Now that the walk’s been cut out of my trip, the only voices I’m gonna be hearing on my way to and from the Fort Totten Metro station are “Stop Requested” and “1st Place NE and Ingraham.” Gotta say, the automated voice of the bus announcer is actually pretty seductive.