I'm lucky enough to make friends wherever I go. That's because I'm friendly and really open-minded. Also, many people frighten me. And I tend to be nice to everyone, especially when I'm afraid that being anything but will perhaps get me backhanded in the mouth or burned with a cigarette.
Case in point...
I've been spending a lot of time in the south lately.
I found myself traveling a long distance in a Louisiana taxicab yesterday in the company of a very interesting lady driver. Because she caught me at a vulnerable moment and called me 'baby', I said, "Sure! No problem!" when she asked if I minded her smoking.
Immediately I slunked down in my seat and started to roll down the window ("That one don't work, baby...here, let me put down mine...") and thought, you asshole, Kristin. What the hell did you just do?
See, when it comes to carsickness, I am even worse than your nerdiest, most hayfever-prone, nearsighted, cape-wearing, drooling, sniveling second cousin. You know, the one that puked in your dad's hat on every car trip you ever took as a family? Yeah, that's me. Only I get even more nauseous and can gag on command. I've been known to groan and put my head between my legs on rides to the 7-11 down the street.
And here I am telling this woman she can smoke on an hour-long ride to the airport. Duh.
There was something charming about her though. Even in her spandex shorts and flip flops, which showed off a red chipped-off pedicure on her dracula-ish toenails. The woman was so obese her cheeks almost hid her eyes. But she was sweet. And I was having a bad day. So I needed a little sweet. I got the sense that she would invite me over to her trailer and make me ovaltine and give me fresh mint from her garden or something.
Then the inevitable happened.
We started talking about Hurricane Katrina. This poor woman's house was leveled during the storm, but she proudly announced to me that she would not take a handout from the government. "No sirree, I work for my money. Not like some people..."
I love sentences that start with, "I'm not predjudiced, but..."
And this one was no different. Sigh. This lady opened her mouth and my, what a rant came tumbling out of it.
And since I'm a nice person, and tend toward passivity, I find that people feel comfortable being racist around me or something. She started talking about how the only people accepting help from FEMA were the black folks, and how they were dragging the culture of Louisiana down, and blah, blah, blah.
I wasn't feeling feisty enough to get into it with her. And plus, I know I cannot change a woman's mindset in one cab ride.
So I didn't say anything. And I kind of feel bad about that now.
I got to the airport and surprisingly didn't vomit on the street as soon as I stepped out of the cab. Even though I kind of really wanted to.
Maybe I should have asked to borrow her hat.
4 days ago