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“Introducing” is an ongoing series in which we ask bloggers, activists, allies, entrepreneurs and assorted Bostonians about their inspirations, motivations, super powers and experiences with street harassment. If you know someone you think we should feature here, please drop us a line!
Katie is a writer, editor, and modern-day cowboy trying to find inner peace through practicing krav maga. You can find more from her over at 5cities6women.
Tell us about yourself – what are you into? I’m a freelance writer and editor, so I love words and grammar. I am that person who cannot read a book without noticing the mistakes that the proofreader missed, and then I’m sad that a bunch of books were printed with errors in them. I enjoy kung fu movies, baking, and a good nap. Since becoming a parent, I’ve also come to cherish progressively stronger cups of coffee and the joys of teaching my boys to like classic rock and female-fronted bands.
Define your style: Laid-back until there’s a reason not to be. This applies to pretty much every part of my life: clothes, work, relationships, parenting, whatever.
Favorite Boston fact: I find the story of the Great Molasses Flood fascinating. Short version: on January 15, 1919, a molasses storage tank broke and the streets of the North End were covered, waist-deep in some spots, in hot, sticky molasses. It killed people and horses. How weird would it be to drown in molasses? It’s hard to even wrap your brain around it.
Your favorite place in Boston? I’m going to have to agree with fellow blogger L. here and say the North End. I had such fun living there and doing things like going to Bova’s in the middle of the night after bar hopping. Plus, it’s gorgeous with the new parks, and a few generations of my family have ties to that part of the city, making it even more special for me.
Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? I’ve definitely experienced it, but it has never made me feel unsafe, which is lucky. The time that stands out most is the time some dude in a pickup truck made an obscene gesture at me while I was walking home from work. I was in the Back Bay, and he was about to get on Storrow Drive, so my first reaction was pure shock that anyone would risk an accident to be that rude. My second reaction was remembering that scene in Thelma and Louise where they chase down the trucker who makes obscene gestures at them and shoot his truck until it explodes. Then I imagined this guy being so busy acting like an asshole that he crashed on Storrow and exploded. So basically, I guess I pictured his fiery death. I felt much better after that.
What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? I usually ignore it because I don’t feel like engaging. I know I’ve given the finger a couple of times. Once (this wasn’t in Boston), someone yelled right in my face, and I smacked him on the back (we were walking by each other, so I hit him as he passed me). We were each with a friend, and we all kept walking away from each other, but I could hear his friend laughing at him. I didn’t even think, hitting him was a reflex. I don’t like people physically in my space, and I tend to react more to that than to words.
Your superpower is… Procrastination. I’ve put things off for years by continuously putting them on next week’s to-do list.
What are you excited about in 2013? Getting back to writing fiction regularly. The new season of Arrested Development. Watching my kids continue to grow because their senses of humor are emerging more, and they say or do ridiculous, hilarious things all the time now (not always on purpose, which is the best part).
What inspires you? Right now, Julianna Baggott’s essay and interview on writing and women’s ambition and motherhood, which you can find here (essay) and here (interview). I think I may need to get “Elbows fucking out” printed on a mug or a tee-shirt. That’s actually not bad advice for street harassment, too!
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Use your brain to develop some empathy. If you can manage to step out of your own head occasionally and really think about what it’s like to live someone else’s life, you’ll be a kinder person, not to mention a better critical thinker. The world needs more of both.
We love that Thelma and Louise scene, too. Thanks, Katie!
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