Monday, February 4, 2013

"That Was Dirty"

One day at the Mall of America, my friend and I were having a hard time finding parking. I hate that place. I always have a hard time finding parking. There are several parking ramps and several parking lots surrounding the place, but they're always full. We drove around and around the lot right in front of the entrance I wanted to use, and hoped to get lucky. I saw some tail lights illuminating, high fived my friend and waited for the car to leave the space. I put my blinker on in the universal symbol for "I have dibs on this spot." We waited some more. Whoever was in that car took forever to load up and get out of the spot (a huge pet peeve of mine).

During this time, another vehicle approached, slowed down, stopped, and then the driver put their blinker on. For my spot! This woman and I were facing each other, not thirty feet apart, and so I'm sure she and her friend could see my friend and me making the "aw HELL no" faces as we sat there in a standoff. Because we could sure see their "whatever. I do what I want" faces.
They weren't backing down.

I decided that whichever direction the car in the spot backed out would determine the winner because had it backed out toward me, my opponent would have to wait for the car to drive past her, in which time I would easily swoop in before her. But if it backed out toward her and I had to wait, she would win.

When the car in the spot backed up toward me, declaring me the winner I hesitated*. Just long enough for them to take the spot right from underneath me.

Shocked and angry at what just transpired, I rolled down my window and said, "That was dirty."

The driver replied:


*Now. This happened probably four years ago. Why haven't I written the story yet? I was afraid to because the women in the car opposite me were black. Black and sassy and urban. The kind of black and sassy and urban that intimidates me. And these girls were definitely intimidating me. I have spent my life trying to fight against stereotypes (or act in a way that at least nobody would think I was a stereotyper), so let me explain something by breaking from the story for a moment and telling a completely different story, for you see, I was once on the winning side of a standoff like this. (But only because my two black girlfriends decided one day to fulfill every stereotype about urban black American women.)
One million years ago I went to a crowded pop concert with one white girlfriend and two black girlfriends. We pushed our way to the front, one of the black girls leading the way. When she got into an altercation with some dummy who wouldn't let us through— you guessed it. The other black girl got right up in there and had her back and they fought it out while I and the other white girl turned tail and got the heck out of there. The four of us laughed and laughed later at the stereotypes that were reinforced in that moment. And you know what? Sometimes stereotypes are true. Never mind that the two black girls were from the city and I and the other white girl were from small town Minnesota Nice. And the point of this story-within-a-story is to explain why I was sure the black sassy urban ladies would key my car if I took that spot. Ha! Kidding. But I was sure they would fight and I would cower and lose. And it was just as much 'small town vs. big city' as it was about race.

**and then we went to Urban Outfitters and totally saw Donatella Versace shopping with her bodyguard and daughter.

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