Thursday, September 15, 2005

I don't think it's actually racism...

Yesterday afternoon was supposed to be a normal humid afternoon in the city; people were walking along the sidewalks after work, trying to reach the bus or train station. But when one clumsy driver hits a tree on the sidewalks, that made all the difference, everything is all but normal. Apparently he’s drunk. Who would drink and drive? Heck, who would’ve gotten drunk on a Thursday afternoon, couldn’t you wait for till Friday?

Passing by the ‘scene of the crime’, it was filled with bunch of unimportant people who just stand there, watching and doing nothing. It’s a car accident. What do you expect? Michael Jackson impersonator doing a cover version of “Bad” in front of you, common! If you’re there, you either help, or mind your own business and keep walking.

I just pass the crowd right away and as I was on my way to the bus station, I decided to stop by at one big bookstore before catching the bus home. Books have always somehow soothes me. I was raised with books, my parents’ love reading. They even insured their books. We all start reading very early in my family. My older sister starts wearing glasses when she was 5. The doctor says because she’s been reading too much. I don’t even know that there’s such a thing. You know, the sentence “Sir, you’re daughter has been reading too much… stop her before her eyes worsened!” It just doesn’t sound right. It’s unthreatening enough. It isn’t bloody wrestling or anything, its reading.

I walked in, passing through those weird alarm detectors they placed right after every entrance in big stores. Suddenly an even more confident manly voice greeted me, “Faternoon sir…” It’s the slightly slimmer security guard who stands all day by the deposit counter. He just stands there, trying to show he’s in charge. It looks that he tries so hard it makes him funny.
I’m stuck in between of laughing out loud because he falsely spells the word (well it does actually sound funny). Or about to get outrageously mad feeling that he might be insulting me. Although, being as fat as a pregnant elephant, I’m used to people looking at me in astonishment, even though it shows even more that they’re trying to hide it.
But then I thought that it’s not worth it, so I reply, “I’m sure you mean afternoon…”
“Ah yes, that…your bag sir”, the guard replies and giving a gesture of asking me to leave my backpack by the counter. Even though I hate to leave my personal belongings to people I don’t know, I leave my backpack and he gives me a number. It’s not that I don’t trust them; it’s just that why do you have to leave your personal belongings if you still have your hands to carry them.

About three steps right after the entrance, I bump into this big Caucasian guy, who’s carrying a bag on his shoulder and dragging another big suitcase on one hand. My eyes popped out and my jaw dropped. Why the hell does this guy get to carry around his bag AND a suitcase around the bookstore, without having to leave them in the counter. There this guy, carrying walking around freely with two huge bags while I have to leave my one backpacks? We breathe the same air; drink the same water, but I can’t bring my one lousy backpack into the store while he gets to carry two big bags with him.

I walked back to the security and give my biggest smile ever to the guy and say, “Excuse me sir, but why did you ask me to leave my backpack while you let that guy carries around not alone one, but two humongous bags inside the store?”
The guy gives an awe look, he looks trying hard to think, doesn’t know what to answer. This must be the longest 5 seconds of his life until he finally answers, “I’m just doing my job sir, and they instruct me to ask everyone to leave their bag, as for him, he couldn’t possibly have a bomb or anything like that, he’s white”.

The ‘Oh My God’ version of Janice from Friends was so close from coming out of my mouth. So close that the closeness between your dick and the balls seems like a mile away. Fucking racist! If this was to happen to me five or six years back, I would’ve freaked out and madly burst into the security guy. “You one dumb racist fuck! You told me to leave my one backpack and you let that guy wander around the bookstore with his huge suitcase!” But no! I thought to my self I wouldn’t allow the security guy and the store that pleasure. They would enjoy all that satisfaction of succeeding in pulling my nerves. Well I’m sure will not give that to them.
Hello… haven’t you heard of Timothy McVeigh? Obviously not!
I don’t think it could get any dumber than this. It’s the 22nd century, and you still get racism. Not only that, you get them from your own people, IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY. How thick is that?

I keep my head cool and ask for the manager. When the manager came out, she was wearing this totally old school out fit. White shirt with huge polka dot bowtie and this Tosca green baggy pant. My mind immediately thought probably Ronald McDonald had a long lost sister who’s somehow got stranded here. I held my laughter and somehow this stops me from wanting to ask her for a minute and just forget about the whole thing. But I couldn’t. I have to keep my head held high. I keep myself composed and started talking to her.

“I’m sorry madam, but I had to ask about something. I was asked to leave my one backpack here by the counter while there’s another guy walking around the store with not one, but two huge bags with him. I don’t quite get this.” Barely holding my laughter.
She replies, “Well sir, to be perfectly honest with you, we had a bad experience with a guy who walks in with a bag on his back, he walked out with two books and a photo frame. And it happened twice, both locals, none of them were caught”
“Well if none them are caught, how do you know it’s them and not some other people who probably weren’t local, because you let them get in with bags?” I asked back.
“Hmm… well… actually we don’t…know”, replies the manager with a not so convincing look.
I just smile and say, “Ok then, thanks for your time”, as I grab my backpack and walk out of the bookstore leaving them behind me.

It’s funny right? Common, admit it! But I’ve got to take these kinds of situations lightly and funny. I was furious at the beginning, but then I realize not to waste my energy on these kinds of situations. If you ask me what’s the moral of this story, I’m sorry but I don’t think I have an answer for that. I don’t think it needs one anyway. Personally, I just try to take it nonchalantly and move on. And always prepare myself for even weirder situations ‘cause when you think you’ve seen it all, you ain’t seen anything yet.