Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bus Chronicles 2: White Woman's Workout Worries

First, I watched this

And - hint - you should take a peek too, in order to enjoy this blog entry in all its glory.

I know, it’s pretty horrible. I stumbled on it, I swear.

Watching that little jewel was the last thing I did before leaving work one afternoon and heading for the bus.

I always hate getting on the bus – it’s so awkward. You climb on and suddenly it feels like you’re on stage. Everyone is staring at you while you’re searching, picking out which seat to sit in. I always sit as quickly as I can; I scan for the first seat available then, as I make my way towards a seat, I quickly realize the obscenely large handbag I carry throws my whole body off balance, causing me to clamor gracelessly to said seat which – inevitably – leads to more staring (which makes me more uncomfortable and more shaky. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.) I don’t even TRY to wear heels anymore because I consistently lose my balance due to the jerk-driving of the bus drivers and always end up landing in someone’s lap.

So, just so you understand, loading onto the bus is a very stressful situation. A girl needs to get herself together once she finds her seat, gather her belongings, collect her thoughts etc. Well on this particular day, thoughts collected, I was heave-hoeing my purse onto my lap when I locked eyes with a black man sitting across from me. I was in the midst of pulling my purse closer to my chest, merely collecting my things, but I suddenly thought (influenced by the video, no doubt): “(Gasp) What if he thinks I’m pulling my purse towards me because of him? Has he seen the White Woman’s Workout video? Does he think that I think he’s going to try and snatch my purse? Chase me down the street?” I was horrified. I wasn’t afraid of black people. My roommate is black. My best friend back home is black. I was not racial profiling! And I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to be racial profiled. I didn’t want to think – not for one second – that I would cause someone to feel the embarrassment of racial profiling. I was honestly very worried and very embarrassed. So much so, I seriously considered explaining myself all the way home. Give him a smile and an anxious “That’s what I get for lugging a purse so large” (With a possible elbow nudge, maybe a wink-wink?)

Well, it was an intense 5min bus ride home. I was at a war within myself. I had the HUGE urge to say something – ANYTHING – to reassure this man that I did not think he was going to take my purse. But in the end, I figured telling him I didn’t think he was going to take my purse would have adverse effects; would probably convince him that the thought had crossed my mind, and would only make him more aware that I was aware that he was black and the assumptions behind his blackness. In the end, when the bus came to my stop, I simply gathered my belongings and once again clamored off the bus in my usual awkward style.

1 comment:

  1. Once again honey, you over think everything . . . love you . . . xoxo