It’s Sunday, the day I usually reserve for peace of mind leaving my problems till Monday. I’ve had a very stressful week right up till some woman in the Food Emporium pushed my things out of her way when I ran back to get a tomato. I took it well even when she said, when you get outta line, you lose your place in line. Took all I had not to say, how bout, you’re outta line lady, but did not pick up the rope and engage.
I’ve come a long way. There was a time I would have duked it out with her like a seasoned prizefighter. I learned, I’d rather be happy than right? Being right quite often causes ulcers. Did you know that?
All week I was challenged by the rude and inappropriate. I held my tongue till I thought I’d swallow it. I kept wondering, why was I attracting so much unrest. I’m very kind as a rule, why wasn’t I receiving what I was giving out.
There’s a great line in a West Wing episode when the publisher of a major newspaper asks C.J. Craig, the White House Press Secretary, if the water was over her head and she said, “no, but it’s right at my head.”
It was 6 a.m. when I went to Starbucks since Panera now opens at 7. It was just me and the workers till a 40sih looking man came in with a snazzy backpack over a very nice leather bomber jacket. He wasn’t handsome, but well put together sitting right across from me.
I was answering Paul’s comments (firstname.lastname@example.org) who’s been away sweetly reading all my back essays when suddenly the peace of the room was invaded by this guy on his phone. Now my hearing, as some of you know, isn’t great, so in a public place a loud voice can actually hurt my ears.
I was not happy and well, the water was no longer at my head. I was about to do a belly flop into the deep end of the pool.
“Could you please get off your phone?” I said politely.
He proceeded to ignore me.
“Excuse me, but I’m talking to you. It’s 6 a.m…on a Sunday.”
Now it dawned on me this man was not American, he was Middle Eastern when his ire began spewing like a geyser. I couldn’t hear much of it, but did hear the word bitch so we were then off to the races.
“What do you get exactly for being so rude? I asked you nicely.”
“Why shood I care aboot you?”
I was a little stunned and decided he was a terrorist. That was my first thought and a natural one after what happened in Paris this past Friday where 129 people, including one American, were killed by eight suicide bombers, ISIS claiming responsibility.
He kept haranguing me most of it I couldn’t hear, but that sassy part of me that lies dormant got up on her hellish hind legs and said, “FUCK YOU…DO YOU LIKE THAT BETTER?” I waited for the challenge that didn’t come. Unbeknownst to me, a man who had come in, was standing behind me. An American I might add, and if I’m appearing xenophobic, so be it.
My heart opens for everyone, its first response like all those policeman and firefighters who heeded the call on 9/11. And I know one shouldn’t assume just because of an accent, a person is an enemy, but that’s how I felt given the circumstances. All those people dying brought me back to that scary Tuesday when 3000 Americans perished, a testy wound sadly, I’ll always possess.
The guy got up still spewing, heading to another table in the back. I looked at the man who came to my defense. I nodded to him, and do you know what he said?
Americans…we need to stick together.
Amen to that.