Saturday, July 05, 2008

5th July
I've been back home for almost a week.
The wonderful thing about being in Florence was the intense burst of creativity that first week... the feeling of being a channel, in a way, of not having to struggle to find words or feelings... but spontaneously, apparently, being able just to write it down as it came.
And then shape and craft the draft; and then be able to hand it over, on time, as agreed:
I proudly put the title in the signature of my emails; but then, soon after, the reaction set in and I began to panic. It became very hard to deny the doubts that came creeping in; even to resist the urge to obliterate the title from my email signature.
I think the climate here has changed.
I've suffered two expressions of hostility in the past couple of days - both from motorists.
On Thursday night, cycling home from the Buddhist group, a car overtook me sloewly, a young woman leant out of the passenger seat window and sprayed foam all over my face.
It's the kind of stuff that resolves itself into a sticky string like substance: and then they drove away laughing.
Tonight, on my way to supper with a friend, one of those big 4 by 4's deliberately drove into a puddle to soak me.
Is this transphobia? Or is it some weird generalised hostility by motorists against those who do not belong to their polluting kind?
Hard to tell...
Maybe there is a change in the atmosphere...
It's hard after petty attacks like these, to continue to enjoy living in the present.
At least for a while, the world changes, and become hostile in a generalised kind of way.
And then fear becomes harder to resist...
But in spite of it all, Jo Clifford, proud author of the recently completed (and looking for production) THE GOSPEL OF JESUS, QUEEN OF HEAVEN inches her way forward...


I've been known to do a spot of cycling around the city too, Jo, and although the majority of motorists aren't out to kill us, there is that small band of unthinking morons who think it's funny to shout unintelligible things out of car windows, throw things, and generally prove themselves the lowest of the intellectual food chain.

I have a fairly assertive and energetic style of riding: aggressive when I need to be, passive by preference. Clues like engine notes approaching from behind and making obvious and planned manoeuvres do go a long way to being seen as an equal road user, but if someone's going to spray string over you, they're as likely to spray it over me too.

As for the 4x4, remembering the registration number and reporting the vehicle to the Police might not do much once, but again, if the driver doesit to you, he or she is likely to do it to other cyclists. Some of us are riding with little helmet cameras now for video evidence.

It is petty, but I don't think it's transphobia; it's differentphobia - cycling to a lot of people is simply not that normal a thing to do, and one becomes a moving target. But we're the ones getting the exercise and living healthier and longer.
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