Friday, March 6, 2009

The people I meet

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,, 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.


Canadian Observer said...

I, also, used to put up with people who went on racist rants; just kept quiet and let them spout on. However, as I aged, I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to be subjected to their bigoted garbage and told them so.

I will admit that it was difficult at first but it became easier and easier the more I spoke out.

I'm Scooter, but I might be a troll. said...

Buy a pricey item from a black entrepreneur. Volunteer your money or your time to a workforce training non-profit. Respond positively to negativity.

nitewalk6 said...

So-bama-ism hasn't reached the white folk in Leesianer yet?
Shoulda just puked in her cab, that's her 'office' and safe spot. Of course you would want to wait until you were getting out because you have no idea what hell and fury might have been laid up side your head had you done it before arriving at the airport.
I don't think we will see and end to racism in our lifetimes. Aren't all the 'holy wars', oops, conflicts going on about the world just different races and sects disliking one another but calling it something other than racism? Jeehad comes to mind.
When the black mayor of a hurricane devastated city cries (demands) help for the "po' black folk" instead of encouraging the survivors to rally around one another as brothers he's as guilty as your cab driver of being racist.
Sorry for the rant but that shit struck a nerve on a Friday PM. Miller time....

Obesio said...

I once was reading a collection of erotic stories that began with the narrator noting, "I'm not gay but..." You can imagine what type of tomfoolery followed--and all under the guise of some sort of informal wrestling competition.

kay zee said...


xl said...

Vomiting in the cab would have changed the topic. Very quickly! :)

Wow, that was awkward said...

When I was recently in New Orleans, I was shocked by the number of locals that openly made racist remarks. It was a bit disarming.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I'm not prejudiced, but it sho is different down there in Weezy-anna. I go to New Orleans every year for JazzFest. Not to generalize (ha), but the locals are a trip alright.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Amazing the things people will say at times. I'm like you though I don't agree with what they are spouting off, but do I really want to be in an argument for an hour that won't change her mind in the least anyway.

jeremy said...

you told me you liked my mom!!!

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