About ten days ago I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time, which was awesome; but there were a lot of people walking across the bridge, and for some reason I didn't see that there were park benches at regular intervals on the left [pedestrian] side. (Well, duh!)
About halfway across, I was looking off the the right, and stumbled into one of these benches. Worse, my breastbone connected with the cast-iron arm of it, causing me instant, searing pain. Worst of all, some [20-ish? 30-ish?] kid whose first language was evidently not English grabs me by the wrist and insists on hauling me up. "Stop it! Let go!" I shout and try to resist, to no avail. He's grinning like a maniac, pulling me up, and making the pain worse. I'm walking a dog at the time, as well, which complicates things and makes even less sense for him to do what he did. Even more horrifying: no one else around takes my side, to tell him to back off.
In what universe is it okay to grab a stranger who is injured, conscious, and actively protesting your supposed well-meaning advances? More horrifying, there are several people nearby who do nothing to defend me. Ten days later, my chest still hurts every time I breathe; I didn't go to the ER with this, because I know there's nothing they can do even if I cracked a rib—which I'm pretty sure I did. (They don't tape ribs anymore, because that puts you at risk for pneumonia. I had pneumonia when I was six; no thanks.) But the outrage that still sticks in my mind is that the guy wouldn't leave me alone. It makes me feel gross just thinking about it.
In other news, I saw the premiere of a movie Friday night that examines the problem of spiraling student debt. Ivory Tower is an important documentary, currently at the Angelika Film Center, that at least addresses this problem—although in an interesting slant, it presents Harvard as a veritable paradise.
Cooper Union is one school focused on in the film; in recent years, its 150-plus-year tuition-free status has been undermined by financial mismanagement on the part of the current administration—who now insist they have to charge tuition for the first time in over 150 years. This has culminated in a lawsuit brought by current students and alumni.
I recommend this movie to anyone affected in any way by student debt.