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Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Bit Off-Topic.......

Link: Anastacia's Blog

Normally, this blog focuses on international current events, but occasionally I stumble across something that demands commentary.  Most days, this blog can be found in the deserts of Iraq and Syria, or the forests of northern Nigeria.  On rare days I will discuss the many places I have been fortunate to visit across the globe, and even more rarely I will make an exclusively political post.  Recently I've been talking to my friend and fellow blogger (see link) Anastacia, about creating new blog posts.  You see, Stacy's blog has been growing in viewers everyday, and she want's to keep the trend going by having a new post as often as possible.  I explained to Stacy that she should never forget that the blog is uniquely hers, and if she doesn't feel like writing about kittens and cats day-in and day-out, she can write about the Blanco Panthers tradition of great high school football, or about driving from New York to central Texas on a motorcycle.  I recommend not straying for too long, but a change in subject can be a welcome variation, like opening a window in Spring, after having had it closed all Winter.  For example, my posts usually have some terrorism or diplomatic nexus, but today will be a bit different.  You see, today I had an experience which is, truly, hard to believe.  I was visiting my local H.E.B., a huge Texas grocery store chain which is similar in appearance and product to the Giant and Food Lion chains of the northeast (I think the southeast might still have Piggly Wiggly, but I have no idea what grocery stores can be found on the west coast).  It was just before lunchtime, and the H.E.B., which is located in a nice, middle to upper income bedroom community of San Antonio, was moderately busy.  Unfortunately for me, the "15 items and under" aisle was already long, but with my bag of Cheetos and a six-pack of Evian, I got in line.  I reasoned that even if the line was long, everyone would have less than 15 items and I would be on my way in no time.  When will I learn not to assume.

You see, about three people in front of me, someone had gotten into the "15 and under" line with a cart full of groceries.  And we aren't talking about someone who made a mistake.  This was one of those people who lives their life believing that rules are for the rest of us.  But the cashier was bustin' ass and taking no prisoners, so I decided to stick it out, reading the headlines of the checkout magazines to kill the time.  It was at this point that I noticed an older white lady standing directly behind me.  She was very well put-together, with a friendly face and a nice smile; I would guess that she was roughly 75 years old.  I noticed that she had started up a conversation with a young Asian lady directly behind her in line.  The Asian lady reminded me either of a college student, or a young wife and mother picking up some groceries on her lunch break from work.  I decided to listen in on their conversation, a choice I would quickly regret.  I did not hear the initial part of the conversation, but I arrived for the good stuff. "You know, I've never understood how you people can see properly, with your eyes so slanted.  I can't imagine you get a very full picture".  The older woman actually said this.  And she had no clue that she had said something even the slightest bit offensive, because she kept on.  "Is it difficult for you to see?  I wonder if they have more car accidents in China, or Viet Cong, or whatever those places over there are called."  And then she did it.  She couldn't leave well enough alone.  She had to add a coup de grace.  She placed her basket on the back edge of the conveyor belt, and lifted her hands to her face, and pulled at the far end of her eyes to create the unfortunate image of "slanted eyes".  "When I do this, I can't see anything.  I ask my husband, and he just laughs at me.  I just don't know how you folks can see anything".  By now, the young Asian girl no longer had slanted eyes.  Like the rest of us who were within hearing range, her eyes were stretched to the limit, trying to determine if this episode in life was part of a television program, or this woman had stepped out of a time machine.  Then the older woman put her hand on the arm of the younger lady and said, "but you sure are beautiful".  Seconds later, my Cheetos and Evian had been rung up and paid for, and the older lady started conversing with the cashier.  I discreetly stood to the side, watching the older woman leave the store and waiting for the young lady to finish her purchase.  As she headed to the exit, I approached her.  "I was in line with you just now.  I'm in shock.  I am so sorry for what just happened.  Sometimes I forget that people like that are still around".  She was obviously pissed off.  She looked at me for a few seconds before responding.  "You were surprised by what just happened?  Do you know how often I will be shopping or be with my husband and daughter at Sea World and hear some teenagers make a comment about Pearl Harbor when I walk by?  Whatever".

That was the end of my attempt to apologize on behalf of all of the world's non-Asians.  I failed miserably, and shuffled out to my car, kinda like a kid that had just completed ten minutes in "time out".  This incident did serve a positive purpose.  It reminded me that in a society that is fixated on "white on black" racism, the truth is, bigots are everywhere.  And in some instances, it just takes a bit of education.  Now this older woman might have been ill, but she was healthy enough to drive to the H.E.B. and pick up a bag of potatoes and some hair color.  Then again, she may have led a very structured, protected life, and just had no clue what some people might find to be offensive.  As much as this may piss some folks off, I must say that I don't believe the old woman had any intention of hurting anyone.  I think she was just trying to pass the time in neighborly conversation.  As for anyone who will assume that this occurred in Texas because the Lone Star State is full of "backwards, old racist country morons", be careful not to drop this mirror.  I've lived all over the United States, and Texas has the same type of racial issues as the rest of the country, and probably less than most states. At least that would be by opinion.  And opinions are like assholes.  Everyone has one, and everyone's stinks.

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