How often
Tuesday April 02nd 2019, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Life

It snowed before we landed Friday and just after snapping this photo in front of my folks’ place I gave my boots their inaugural snow print.

But this also happened on the trip: I do airports in wheelchairs because of the intensity of the visual environment and how it affects my balance. Like flicking water on burning-hot oil.

The wheelchair pusher in Salt Lake took us all the way to the car rental and then the car itself.

But while Richard was checking in on our reservation there, the guy had me off to the side slightly, such that nobody going past would connect me in that busy place with that really tall guy just over there.

Two large, tall, white men came toward us. Neither looked, shall we say, approachable. The further one didn’t notice that the nearer one stopped, and he kept going.

The nearer one looked me in the eye with something bordering on contempt. I had never seen him in my life. It made no sense to me.

But then. He looked at the tall young African-American man at the handlebars and his face went full-on seething hatred and he stared to make sure that that guy saw it. He wanted him cowering. He wanted him afraid. He wanted, had they been alone, to do him harm.

And then he swaggered on his way.

I glanced back, waiting for the bully to board the elevator behind us because I didn’t want this perfectly lovely man I’d spent these last few minutes with to be hit with any repercussions from what I was about to say. But saying it was imperative. “I’m so sorry you had to deal with that face.”

He pretended not to know what I was talking about.

“I saw that guy. I am so sorry. You shouldn’t have had that happen to you.”

At that he melted in relief that there was still kindness in the world. That he mattered. That someone, some white person who didn’t have to live through it, saw him in that horrific moment.

4 Comments so far
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I’m sorry that both of you had to deal with that ugliness. I want to believe that good triumphs over evil. But in today’s environment I wonder.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 04.03.19 @ 5:31 am

Thank you for speaking out against that hate. It’s absolutely essential that we all do so.

Comment by Joanne Seiff 04.03.19 @ 8:08 am

It makes me sad and angry and confused: I truly don’t understand why anyone cares about the color of another person’s skin. I’m not questioning how humans can hate others, but someone you don’t know? Based not on what they have done, but on what they are? It baffles me. Thank you for speaking up.

Comment by ccr in MA 04.03.19 @ 8:43 am

I think you were far more controlled than I would have been. I find it impossible to understand that kind of hate – there is no sense to it – no humanity to it. Perhaps that is the problem, those who feel that way are somehow not connected to their own humanity.

That young man was going a job that needs doing, and it sounds like he was doing it very well. Thank you for telling him that he is seen and appreciated, for demonstrating that there really is good in the world even if there are a lot of ar**holes (Yarn Harlot’s word) to contend with.

And thank you too for making that elderly woman’s flight less worrisome, having something to focus on and your friendliness was probably very soothing. And the headgear was a spectacular bonus!

You are an all-round good person!
Chris S in Canada

Comment by Chris S in Canada 04.03.19 @ 6:21 pm

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