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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Piles of Paper & Real Cowardly Racism

June 21, 2012:  It’s a combination day, where I’m toiling through my paper pile and sorting through the myriad mental observations cluttering my precarious mind (Space Case and my Youtube video, of course, among them) ...

I jot notes and ideas, paragraphs, thoughts, and more and more on folded up pieces of paper, and it’s only every so often that I review the enormous collection I’ve accumulated—the somewhat unused ones that weren’t for a current story or project—the ones that collect in my drawers and atop my night table …

For instance, here’s one in which I briefly recount an interesting dream wherein I was riding on a bus with Hitler and asked him for his autograph.  (I can’t detail this one, because somehow the paper got all wet and the thick red ink ran all over the place.) I remember I was somewhat embarrassed about asking him—he was, after all, Hitler—but I think we eventually fell into a kind of light conversation, keeping it off the war and his being a Nazi.

And speaking of Hitler, I wanted to share the great moment I had yesterday at the Motor Vehicle office in Norwalk, CT. It was incredibly crowded, but I was still all the chipper comrade where my friends on line were concerned, bantering away with the friendly convivial gloss particular to civil service stress. Of course, all we all kept talking about—the lady in front of me, and the lady in back—was the longness of the lines, etc., and how long and long they were, and how grouchy the workers would be when we finally got up to the front of the line the following afternoon, etc., etc.

“And you notice, ubba-zubba-zubba,” the woman behind me said quite confidentially.

“I’m sorry, what?” I said, being deaf and all.

“They’re mostly minorities,” she whispered about the workers, quite sure I’d understand her point.

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I simply asked, “Are you a racist?” and it wasn’t a rhetorical question. I’m just surprised when I meet one, at least in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

“No, no!” she assured me quickly. “I’m not racist.” And I always find it interesting how rarely a racist will admit to being racist. That kind of annoys me. I find the lack of conviction even more appalling than the practice. If I were a racist I’d be adamant about my racism; I’d be the raciest! But nowadays, you can’t even draw passion from a bigot. I mean, what’s the world coming to?!

Ironically, she was sent to the front of the line by a sort of wandering information guy who felt her case was worthier than mine (or something), and replaced behind me by a very dark-skinned woman who in all probability was some kind of minority or other. (I didn’t ask, but had I known I was going to Blah-ugh! about this, I might have.)

Anyway, when I finally reached the front of the line, the minority worker—I mean, she was clearly not in the majority—was remarkably friendly and polite (except when she called me Tubby, which I didn’t appreciate). No, seriously, she was a princess, and I even made a point of complimenting her, and said, “Y’know, you’ve been really polite, lady. You were basically as polite as a normal person.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well, I mean, as a minority, it’s not quite as usual for you to be so civil, even though you’re a civil servant, and so I just wanted to mention that you carried your handling with the articulate dignity of a dignified and articulate gentleman, but like a lady gentleman.” (I may not be quoting myself here exactly, but it was that kind of idea I expressed, and she was thankful to the end.

“Oh, thank you, sir, thank you,” she said in that way minorities have. “You really have been nice to be so pollutioning and acknowledgating,”she said she said.

“Yes, I am,” I sighed, "and thank you for being so articulate and dignified, as minorities have such a hard time being. You is truly a articulate and dignified lady gemmun!” I rambled.

Ah, yes! Another breakthrough in minority-normality relations.  We’ve come a long way, baby, and that’s not even beginning to dive into the large, long messy pile of papers with all sorts of other ideas I have cluttering about on my bed at just this very moment …


  1. Favorite line "I wasn’t sure what to say, so I simply asked, 'Are you a racist?'". Come to think of it this would have been a good ice breaker for your Hitler encounter.