All I want is a coke. A delicious, acidic, tooth eroding coke that burns on the way down and makes you go "ahh" out of the slight pain in your throat from drinking it, not necessarily because it's a refreshing beverage models pretend to drink (unless it's with Hennessy. Hi, Faith). It's hot and late, Bushwick's slow cooked garbage air wafting through my hair, which is already caked with sweat and food bits from work. I go into Little Ceasar's, cheap pizza seller extraordinaire, thinking about not much at all besides, of course, the coke. In the fluorescent mini store stand two large men, a little off to the side. They seem to be waiting for their food, not talking or really looking at the limited menu of pizza, cheese stix, and...Pepsi. Ugh. So arbitrary, but I've clearly bought into the manufactured rivalry between the two almost identical sodas. Whatever. As I take the three steps forward and make eye contact with the mustached teenager working behind the plastic window, I feel myself effortlessly lifted into air, apparently now dead and possibly a ghost. Before I have a chance to mourn my unexplained, possibly pizza related death, I'm put back on earth, or maybe hell, inside the same plexiglassed Little Ceasar's, about half a foot behind the two large men.
"It's my turn," says the one closest to me, barely looking at me. No one betrays the fact that the fat man just lifted me up in the air out of his way for pizza. I back out of the store as he orders, not letting my face give anything away. At 5"2, the combination of my lifelong swimming muscles and cookie cushion make me the dense, medium firm mattress of anyone's dreams. I usually thought of myself as solid, strong, and a little soft. Not fat, necessarily, but not the first person you'd try and pick up in generally any given situation. Misogynistic views about my body ingrained into me since birth, meet the puzzling form of street harassment where not only are you in fact not seen as a person, but a roadblock to budget friendly pizza heaven that can easily be moved wherever a stranger likes. I feel small and powerless. I have been followed, yelled at, disrespected, harassed, cat called, you name it. But never have I felt so aware of the fact that a man, any man if they try hard enough, can pick me up and put me where they like, just because they feel like it. I never go into that Little Ceasar's again. Fuck Pepsi.