Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mission Critical

It's as though time slows down for a few seconds every time you accidentally stab yourself in the eye with a mascara brush. You can feel it as your arm starts to move - you've miscalculated the distance from the brush to your eye. The little voice in your head screams "No-oo-ooo!!!" But it's too late. Tiny needles of bacteria covered in black goo are scratching away at your eyeball. The pain is intense. Your eyes gush tears in an attempt to wash the bacteria away. Black waterproof smudges grace your cheeks. Contact lenses sometimes serve as a shield to cushion the blow. I had no such luck today. In this weakened state - already half blind without my glasses on, blinking furiously, eyes watering, trying desperately not to be loudly profane - I notice a fellow YWCA-goer approaching the mirror next to me. She reached for the outlet just to my right, and, unsure whether or not I was in her way, I moved my gym bag a little to the left while I tried to recover from my stab wound.

"I ain't gonna touch your bag," she hissed under her breath. In my distracted state, I didn't even register what she'd said until she walked away. When I finally did, I wasn't entirely sure what to do. It seemed sort of silly to go with my first instinct, which was to chase her down the hall to explain that I'd just stabbed myself in the eye with my mascara wand and I wasn't wearing my glasses so I couldn't tell whether or not I was in her way and I thought she needed to use the outlet and was just trying to make sure she had enough room but I swear that's all it doesn't mean anything at all about me and how I feel about people that are different than me I'm not a racist I'm not I'm not I'm not.

Then I realized that I don't have to brand myself a racist when someone who is of a different race than me is acting like an idiot.

On the other hand, there's possibly nothing sadder to me than the knowledge that this woman deals with so much hatred and institutional racism that she lashes out at something so insignificant as someone moving a bag.

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