09/08/2016 by syrbal-labrys
Some days are just not worth chewing through the possible leather straps. Today was one of those days. The poor Minotaur was in too much pain to go to an appointment at the VA, so we cancelled that easily enough.
But Thursdays are “lunch with the Hess ladies” day. But my old Volvo station wagon is in the shop, so I would have to drive the Minotaur’s beloved red VW CC. I don’t usually, living in dread of so much as a suicidal windshield bug marring the lovely finish. But reluctantly, off I went.
Drivers were aggressive today. A semi-truck and trailer got right on my tail and apparently thought my speed limit observance in the right lane in heavy traffic was very annoying to him — on a city street, not a freeway. Beside me, a blue-green Ford pick-up is jockeying for position in the left lane with a truck with a travel trailer behind him and some sort of Asian import in front of him. I had barely a car length between me and a mini-van in front of me — and didn’t dare slow too much with the semi roaring up my ass.
The Ford tried pulling over, I couldn’d see a signal because I was at his DOOR — I accelerated, hoping to be seen and not hit. I got past them, as the female passenger rolled down her window and began screaming at my car! What the fuck?! Two blocks further, the semi turned off and the Ford got behind me, staying closer than the big truck had been. The passenger kept shaking her fist out the window, or pressing her face to the windshield screaming and making obscene gestures. The truck with the fifth wheel trailer was now beside me. And in front of me, suddenly — brake lights. A motorcycle pulled off the road, the minivan abruptly turned into the driveway of a store — and stopped dead, so nobody else could turn.
In the road, where I HAD to keep driving? A gallon plastic tub of white paint, open on it’s side and puddled over the roadway! I went through it, hearing the ‘mud puddle’ splash sound and visualizing a white paint rooster tail down the side of my husband’s beautiful red car. The Ford stayed on my ass for the next three miles, tail-gating me all the way. I got to the lunch spot and got a look at the car. The wheel wells were solid white, the tires pretty much likewise. The ‘rooster tail’ effect was less than I expected, for which I was grateful. I resolved to have a quick lunch and go home to remove paint.
Inside, with coffee and a menu, we discussed the empty cafe — the state fair is on and all businesses hate the lull it creates. I was half way through my soup when the most well off (2 or 3 two week vacations annually) German widow asked what we thought of “that football player who isn’t standing up for the national anthem.” I said I thought he had a right to protest, and that as a veteran, I defend that right. She disagreed, of course, and began loudly proclaiming that he was only doing it for press attention. She said if he had “problems” with how he felt he should put his “money where his mouth is” INSTEAD of protesting. I told her most football players already did that, as he had — that they do outreach and community work. She again proclaimed he was “only doing it for attention.” (I tried to tell her he was doing it for attention to an issue. She wasn’t hearing it.)
I bit my lip and stood up. The words poised unsaid on my tongue were, “Is that what German Jews did; complain for attention?” Instead, I said, “I am leaving.” As I crossed the cafe, she shouted “Well, that is ridiculous!” I lost my temper, since the entire (now slightly more filled) cafe heard her pronounce my behavior ridiculous. I shouted back: “No, what is ridiculous is that you are so white you don’t know what it is like to be ANY other color in this country.” Well, I SAID Thursday was for assholes, right?
I paid. The French waiter said, “I hope you will come back.” I assured him I would, but with my husband, because I could not argue this argument again with someone too white and privileged to have the least empathy. He said, quietly, his pale cheeks coloring, “It IS the 21st century, you would think we could be done with this, no?”
Apparently? No. We aren’t done with it. I’m pretty sure I am done with lunch with German ladies, however. Mind you, they are not all so sure of white right to be totally dismissive bitches — but that one has shouted before about “those people” any time Black Lives Matter is mentioned; she is dismissive in the extreme. It makes me feel very hostile indeed. Honestly, I am too white myself to feel the right to act like the proverbial “angry black man” — but I am right now so entirely sick of my allegedly own “racial” grouping that I’d simply like to be almost ANYthing else but white.
I went home and scrubbing white paint off a car NEVER felt quite so cathartic!