Image courtesy of Jason Eppink. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.
This weekend, I volunteered at BaconFest, the annual Dad’s Garage tribute to bacon and beer. I did my eco-friendly part, and walked from my apartment to the venue using Atlanta’s super-excellent rails-to-trails program, the Beltline.
This was a mistake. First off, as I am reminded of while writing this, I am in terrible physical shape/do not consume enough milk, and if I walk at something speedier than an amble, my shins hurt for the next three days.
More than that, however, was the nice reminder that street harassment is a Thing. I normally assume that I don’t get harassed much out in public because I maintain an A+ bitchy resting face, or because I’m kind of mousy. Not (exclusively) so! I don’t get harassed out in public because I have the incredible good fortune to spend most of my transit time in the car.
Because I swear to god, 8 am on a Saturday on an overcast day, and some dude started trying to chat me up in Piedmont Park as I was walking by myself. Dude would not take the hint that I didn’t want to talk to him even after I ended the conversation. He asked, in no particular order, what country I was from, was I going to the farmer’s market, where did I get my boots, did I have any plans for the day, did I know what they were setting up in the other corner of the park, what was my name, had I ever been to Brooklyn? It was super rad.
After that excitement, the walk on the Beltline itself was uneventful. I saw some excellent murals. I saw some creepy wire skeletons. I saw the shell of Ponce City Market.
Then I hopped off the Beltline, down a muddy hill, into a parking lot. (The Beltline is A+ when you’re on it, but hasn’t totally mastered the on/off-ramp system quite yet.) To get to my side street, I had to cross in front of Green’s liquor store, an establishment mostly known for being “open.”
Fun fact: Green’s has a set of dudes who loiter in front of it at 8:30 on Saturday morning, because they are apparently aggressively uninteresting alcoholics. Those dudes did a whole set of what’s your name where’re you going why you so mad, which, motherfucker, you’re standing in front of a piece-of-shit liquor store in a parking lot for the no-really-we-actually-call-it-that-Murder-Kroger at 9 in the morning on a goddamn Saturday, no.
So that was even radder.
As I fumed off down my side street on my way to bacony glory, however, the day picked up. On three of the street signs going down the hill, someone had stuck up Ms. ATL stickers. Last week, I wrote a piece for Decaturish on Free Art Friday, and one of my two main sources was Ms. ATL. She was charming and gracious and tweeted a link to the piece as soon as it went up. She spoke about how being a part of Free Art Friday had made her feel connected to Atlanta, had made her feel a part of something. She said that she liked knowing that her art, which features a smiling vintage headshot, brightened peoples’ days.
It did, in fact, brighten mine, and I walked down the street reminded that not all of Atlanta was awful. And I headed over to the 14th annual BaconFest, an excellent event for an excellent theatre full of excellent people, and it was on the whole a wonderful time.