I’ve never holla’d back via cell phone photo since that takes a lot of coordination I don’t have, but I’ve definitely let cat callers know what I think of them–verbally or with my middle finger. I could write quite a lengthy post about my experiences with sleazy dudes on the street and my reactions and theirs and society, etcetera, etcetera, but tonight, I have a counter story.

I took a nap before yoga and woke up in a mood that wasn’t exactly bad, but a mood that definitely lacked perspective. I went into the studio grumpy, and I literally walked into the open arms of my teacher Alan. “My student!” he enthused, wrapping me in a huge hug. “How are you?” he asked. I lied, of course, and said I was good because I wanted to believe it. And for once, the power of positive thinking functioned properly, and I’m pretty sure it started with the hug. 90 minutes later, I left class feeling around 90% better.

I arrived back at my apartment at 9:45, parking next to the MARTA bus stop a few buildings down. Keys in hand, I walked with purpose toward my building, cognizant of the shirtless man lumbering down the sidewalk in front of me. On a stoop, talking on her cell phone and smoking a cigarette, a woman called to me as I passed, “Hey!” I paused long enough for her to say, “Look out for that guy up there. He’s really weird and he’ll say something gross to you.” “Are you OK?” I asked her. When she assured me she was, I thanked her more profusely than I’ve ever thanked a stranger for a relatively minor deed. It was one of those reverse straw that breaks the camel’s back situations–it was the straw that repaired the camel’s back. I’ve never known a woman to look out for another woman like she did. Of course we all should, but even I haven’t managed to do that in the course of my sidewalk defense program. I can understand not talking back to harassers (I’ve worried about my safety countless times), but I would love to be able to look out for each other like that woman did for me.