Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In Which I Prove I'm a Racist

Know how you're never supposed to ask a woman if she's pregnant?  Because she might just be fat?  I have another truism to add to the list...

This morning I was on the elevator, on the way down from my cup of coffee, and there was a guy on the elevator with me clutching his copy of the U.S. Constitution (I guess "copy" wasn't really necessary there).  A serious elevator chatterer because it feels like a place that needs conversation - just this morning a remarked to a packed audience in their winter coats, "you're all radiating cold" - I asked him, "Are you studying for your citizenship test?"

Pause.  "No."

Oh....damn it.  Quick, find a fall back position....

He beat me to my back pedal, "I'm already a citizen."

Argh!  Keep trying.  How about, "Usually when someone's carrying around the Constitution, it's because they're studying for the test."

"I just think it's interesting reading."

Come on...first floor....come on...

"But I wouldn't want to take the test, it's probably hard."

Whew...we can move on.  If he's talking to me about generalities, the conversation can probably be saved.  I opine, "They have some pretty good versions for smart phones and the iPad."

"I don't have a smart phone or an iPad.  I haven't been able to afford one."

Shit.  I'm racist and some sort of class elitist.  First floor is here, cut and run! "Have a nice day!"

"You too."

I spent the rest of the way back to my space wondering if I would have asked someone white if they were studying for their citizenship test or if I would have assumed they were programming a new Constitution-based app.  There are some white non-citizens in house and I know the person who coded the Constitution app, so I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt.


Kyle said...

Your tale provides a good basis for understanding why most people just stare quietly at the numbers ticking up or down.

Scooter said...

I have to live life to the max, or my name isn't Max Power.

She says said...

Bravo! I always knew you had it in you.

BTW, politicians and folks studying law often carry around copies of the Constitution, but usually not in the open because it's way geeky.

Scooter said...

I suppose they guy on the elevator could have been on his way to a filibuster as well.