To yield or not to yield

Dear President Trump,

Now that it’s light so late and the weather has warmed up the annual migration from indoors to outdoors is happening in our neighborhood. Kids are still in school so there’s not a ton of kid activity on the sidewalks yet, but more adults are hanging out on their porches and working in their gardens. Also on our block is a woman who routinely practices her hula-hoop dance routines on the sidewalk in front of her house on spring/summer evenings. I used to feel sort of uncomfortable seeing her out there doing her unusual thing so apparently comfortably, but this year I am appreciating the boldness of her choice to be out in front with it rather than going with a backyard practice routine. She is taking up space doing something for herself that she clearly enjoys and it feels like she is implicitly giving everyone else permission to be outside taking up some space to do what we each enjoy. The other night she was wearing a t-shirt that says “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” which seems apropos.

The scale is different, but I think the recent wins by so many non-traditional women candidates in yesterday’s Democratic primaries are on the same continuum as my neighbor’s hula-hoop practice – women becoming increasingly confident and embodying unapologetic boldness. I was thinking about all this on my run this morning and how “about time” it feels. I was on a nearby track doing a counter-clockwise lap along the right, outer edge when I came across a very tall white man who was doing a clockwise lap also on the outer edge. He didn’t seem to see me at all and I reflexively got off the track to let him pass. He made no indication he noticed. And then at the other end of the track it happened again. I’m curious how he would have behaved had I been a man and whether size or color would have made a difference. He seems quite used to taking up a lot of space and not giving it a second thought. I know how it would have gone had he instead been any size or color woman and she and I had to negotiate the lane – we would have acknowledged one another and one of us would have yielded and the other would have audibly expressed gratitude. Maybe in his next life he’ll get there.

May we be safe to be out in front.
May we be happy to take turns yielding.
May we have the ego strength to yield and if we don’t may we get new egos.
May we know that just because someone yielded today it doesn’t mean she will yield tomorrow.

Tracy Simpson

p.s., Not that this sort of thing worries you much, but I just want to circle back and let you know I figured out I should have said “populace” rather than “populous” yesterday. ts

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