I stopped by 7-11 yesterday afternoon to grab a diet Pepsi and get the Sunday ads. (For some reason, I didn't get them with my newspaper this week. Go figure.) I was the only customer in the store when three very pretty, very "Valley Girl-ish" African-American preppy girls pulled up in a BMW convertible and came into the store.
I mention their race only because that is about to come into play.
The threesome was doing the typical teenage squealy girl thing, "OH MAH GAWD! THEY HAVE THE SUGARFREE JOLLY RANCHERS!! I SOOOOO TOLD YOU THEY WOULD HAVE THAT SHIT!" Eeesh. Teenagers. Some of them can shriek at levels that should only be heard by dogs, I swear, and have no compunction about randomly swearing in public places.
While I waited for the clerk to finish some sort of accounting deal, the three girls came up to the counter and stood behind me. Every other word out of their mouths was "shit" and "fuck." I mean, el bizarro world, shit fuck shit. I'm not opposed to "shit", "fuck" or any other so-called nasty words. Watch me stub my toe, burn my fingers, or otherwise injure myself, and I guarantee, I'll swear like a sailor. But if I'm going to use my more colorful vocabulary, I keep it to myself, my friends, and certain family members - and, occasionally - this blog. There's something jarring about hearing obscenities over and over again in a store, an office, you name it. It's pretty uncool. Finally, I turned to the girls and said, "Ladies, could you please hold the swearing until you leave the store? It's getting a little stale."
At which point the demeanor of the trio changed. Their physical stance changed. Their mode of speaking changed. Suddenly, there were hands on hips and cocked heads. One of them got directly into my face and screamed, "I AIN'T GONNA TAKE SHIT FROM SOME FUCKING FAT WHITE BITCH!"
That caught me off guard. Muffy Tupperman had suddenly channeled a week's worth of Jerry Springer guests. The other girls just keeled over laughing. The screamer continued, "THIS IS MY COUNTRY, BITCH! I CAN TALK SHIT ANYTIME I WANT TO! JUST 'CUZ YOU'RE WHITE YOU THINK YOU CAN TELL ME WHAT TO DO? FUCK YOU! THIS IS BLACK CULTURE, BITCH!"
Wow. I thought I was telling three rich suburban girls to please knock off the swearing. I had no idea I was oppressing them because they were black and I was white. This came as a big surprise to me. I also had no idea that swearing = black culture. I think this teenage declaration will come as a big surprise to a lot of African-Americans. Yikes.
Then, one of the other girls grabbed my newspaper out of my hands, tossed it on the floor, and quietly said to me, "Why don't you just shut up, asshole?" And with that, the trio started laughing hysterically and, for some reason, they all ran to the back of the store, still laughing and shrieking "ASSHOLE!" and "BITCH!" There were four other customers in the store by now, and I think they were pretty baffled by the preppy-teen-channels-Ricki-Lake-Show hissy fit.
Of course, the 7-11 clerk didn't say a word. I have a feeling he's seen a lot of weird shit.
I picked up my paper, paid for my stuff and started to walk to the door. "Ah," I said, as I gathered my bag, "America's youth. Gotta love it." One of the girls popped her head up from the back of the store, pointed at me, and bellowed, "FATASS!" And her friends giggled madly again.
I stopped. I took a deep breath. And, projecting my best stage voice, I said, "I certainly hope you're not going to try to say that's 'black culture', too, honey. I know there are a lot of big, fat, beautiful black women out there, and I think they'd be pretty ashamed of you right now. You're a pretty sad group of children."
And I walked out to my car.
And I was followed by two of the girls.
One of them stood at the 7-11 door and yelled, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?! I BET YOU HATE BLACK PEOPLE! I BET YOU HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING FOR NEW ORLEANS!"
And I smiled and said, "Oh really? Hold on a sec." And I pulled my Salvation Army donation receipt from my purse and held it out to her. "I took a carload of donations to Salvation Army yesterday for hurricane relief, honey. Check it out." And one of the girls actually stepped up and read my carbon copy receipt, at the bottom of which I'd written "for Katrina relief."
I said to the girl, "I've been out of work for five months, dearest. Otherwise, I would have written a check, too. What have you done, as an affluent young American woman, for the people of New Orleans? Have you done anything with purpose, anything uplifting, to help people this week?" And she just stared at me. "I'm serious. What have you done, hon? Tell me."
She never answered me. She just got into the BMW, and sat in the back of the convertible, staring at me, arms crossed and jaw set. Her two friends got in. I decided to wait until they were gone to depart. I really didn't want to end up in a bumper swipe with Angry Suburban Youth. They backed out, and I heard a splosh. The girl in the passenger seat had thrown a Slurpee cup at my car. My "friend" in the back seat was smiling now, and giving me the bird. I heard "FAT BITCH!" and they peeled out.
My car needed to be washed anyway.
Some people just amaze me.
Fiji is looking better and better all the time...