Friday, August 01, 2014

I guess in New York they're kept in pens

My day got off to a bad start. I don't think my cold is a cold, I think it's something worse. I was so weak I actually fell asleep in the bathtub. I knew we weren't going to be busy at work and I was tempted to call in sick, but I've been covering for Phil this week. I didn't get out the door until after 9:00 AM.

A very thin older lady with a big totebag and a map approached me in front of the el. She asked if I was from around here. Lady, I've lived in this town for more than 25 years. You've brought your tourist questions to the right place!

First she asked where my church was. Not because she wanted to worship, but because it's a historic landmark and architectural gem. She complained that she didn't want to tour it, just walk around and wondered it it's always open. I explained that since it's my church, when I go it's for Sunday services so of course it's open -- I can't vouch for Friday morning. Then she asked me about some of the other historic houses. I showed her on the map how to get there.

Then she strangely asked me where "all the people are." I explained that this is a residential area and everyone is at work at 9:15. She went on to say that in New York, the sidewalks are always full. "But this isn't Chicago," said I, explaining that we're a neighboring village. (As printed on the map in her hand. Duh.)

Then she said that the only people she on the train and on the streets this morning were (lowers voice), "black teenagers."

"That's it," I said. "I'm not listening to this." If only the light hadn't just turned yellow I could have swept away.

"I'm not being racist," she said.

"Yes, you are, and I'm not listening to it," I said, crossing against the light as soon as the oncoming traffic past.

"I'm not being racist," she called after me.

"Have a nice day," I said, and kept going.

I wish I'd asked her where they keep the black teenagers in New York. I wish I'd told her that when she visited my church, she should look at her soul. I wish I'd asked her why her skin looks like bad luggage when I know they sell sunscreen in New York.

This is 2014, for pity's sake! I don't want people like her in my village. 

1 comment:

  1. The people who are racist and don't think they are. Eeek!