To tell you the truth, I’m still freaked out by the whole thing.
On a random impulse, I decided to go to the beach, hoping to see the sun set. I hopped in the Rocket Scientist’s car (he’s out of town) and headed north. Then, on a yet more random impulse, as I was underway I decided “Screw that, I’m going to the Golden Gate Bridge.” (The chances of being able to see the sunset from the bridge were, as usual for this time of year, terrible.) I stopped briefly at the Great Highway to chuckle at the sight of people dressed (appropriately) in down coats in August, and to determine exactly what shade of gray the ocean was. (The breakers were a gray-green; farther out the ocean was slate.) As I left I thought that once I had crossed the bridge I would call friends in San Francisco to see if any of them were available. (Given that it was late afternoon on a Saturday in August, I figured the odds were about equal to those of me seeing the sunset from the bridge.)
In the vicinity of Golden Gate Park, while stopped at a red light, I became aware that a guy was hanging out the back window of the new Nissan Altima behind me. He was screaming obscenities at me and my Hillary bumper sticker.
“Motherfucker [unintelligible] Hillary [unintelligible] fucking Hillary … You mother fucker!!” This went on until the light changed. I drew a deep breath and drove on.
He did the same thing at the next light and the light after that. I could hear the three other guys in the car egging him on. He didn’t sound very angry (he laughed occasionally) but it was clear to me that they wanted to make me afraid.
They continued to follow me. The verbal abuse stopped, but I looked back at one point and the guy who had screamed at me was leaning out of the window photographing the back of the car. They were close enough that the bumper sticker would be legible, but more to the point the license plate would be as well.
I told myself to keep calm — they were highly unlikely to get out and confront me physically as there was too much traffic. I kept expecting them to turn off onto one of the side streets, but they didn’t. Once we were on the approach to the bridge I realized that they were not going to stay in the city. I slowed down significantly, and the driver passed me.
“Whew,” I thought. “Okay, they’re simply going north and just saw me as an easy opportunity to harass a Hillary supporter. I’ll just go to the vista point, look out at the waves and the Bay Bridge, take some deep breaths, maybe call a couple of people.”
The car exited at the vista point.
Clearly, I wasn’t going to exit there myself. I went down an exit, and because by that time my brain was screaming and my pulse racing, I got turned around and spent half an hour wandering through Sausalito trying to get down to downtown. Sausalito has a lovely downtown with no available parking on a Saturday in the early evening. As I was driving around I did see the remnants of the sunset under the fog surrounding the full moon. It was beautiful, and if I could have found parking I would have stayed.
I managed to get back on the freeway headed south and decided to head home. At this point, I decided that although I love my friends what I really needed was to be safe under my own roof.
I’m home now, and I’m still shaking. I am telling myself that I’m overreacting, that they didn’t really pose a threat to me, that even if I had followed them to the vista point the most they would have done is keep yelling at me, and probably not even that given all the people around. (Then again, I wouldn’t have thought they would have kept screaming at me with traffic around, either.)
I keep trying not to remember the other times I have been threatened by men.
I don’t even know if they were Trump supporters. It was San Francisco so they might well have been Berniebots. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that four grown men (ages roughly mid- to late-twenties) thought it socially acceptable to try to intimidate or terrorize a lone woman with no warning and for no reason.
Oh, what a brave new world we live in.