Tired of pictures of Maurice yet? Sorry. She's just so...available.
She slept with me last night which is a rare thing indeed! Okay, to be honest she slept on the bed with me but she didn't exactly cuddle up. In fact, she slept on her beloved's pillow. Although she did get a little snugglier this morning before I got up. I have no idea how she managed to tell Jack that he was not allowed on the bed but he didn't even try, as far as I know. She sat in the bathroom while I was getting ready for bed last night, and then she followed me into the bedroom and jumped up on the bed when I got under the covers.
That poor baby. She just gets so nervous about everything. But she's happy now. Her main human is home and I am hoping she can relax a little bit.
Okay. I want to write some more about the situation that happened in the Dollar General yesterday. I should have been more clear about that and why it was my mistake to have asked that question. There's going to be some brutal honesty here.
Lloyd is a very mixed community on many levels. Definitely economically. Now I don't know of anyone directly around here who is fabulously wealthy but I know there are some of those people who live within a few miles of here. At least judging by the homes they own. There are, however, plenty of folks who seem to be fairly well off and not exactly worrying about where their next meal is going to come from or whether or not they can afford to pay the light bill. There are also people who I am sure DO worry about how they're going to pay the light bill and there are even people like Harvey who don't have electricity.
So there is that.
There are professors who live around here as well as artists, drug dealers, law enforcement officers, people who work as mechanics, musicians, postal workers, ministers, and many other assorted jobs such as grocery store employees, service industry workers, prison industry workers, horse farmers, people who work in the cattle raising industry, people who work in the healthcare industry, and so much more. And although there is some delineation as to the different neighborhoods where differently-employed people live, a lot of us just live in extremely mixed areas where a very nice house is right next to a house with siding falling off it.
Education is another factor. We have folks who have PhD's and we have people who probably did not go to high school because they had to get jobs in order to help support their families, and all inbetween.
Let us not forget political differences. We have many die-hard Trump supporters and we have extremely left-leaning liberals who wouldn't vote for the Orange Intestine if you held a gun to their (our) heads.
But. The most obvious difference in our community's population is race. There are Black families who have lived on the same piece of land since their enslaved ancestors got their freedom. And there are white families who live in the houses that those ancestors probably built. I am one of those. This house was built before the Civil War and I seriously doubt that the men who built it were all white and free.
I am hyper-aware of my privilege. Every moment of my life. Not only was I born white but I was also raised in a house where hunger was never an issue and our power was never cut off because a bill wasn't paid. I've never been denied medical care for lack of money. I've had an education. I have a car and I don't have to scrimp and save to afford small luxuries. Or even some large ones. No one has ever addressed me with a racial epithet. No one has ever refused me service or told me I was not qualified for a job because of the color of my skin. No police officer has ever pulled me or my husband or our children over for a non-functioning tail light because we are Black and thus- probably guilty of a crime in some bigoted cop's mind.
And do you know why?
Because of the fact that I was born into the family I was born in.
I did nothing to make that happen. I have not earned the privileges that I was handed freely at my birth. And it is vastly apparent to me that I am no better than anyone else and I never, ever want to make anyone feel as if I think I am.
I am just another human being living on this earth in incredibly fortunate circumstances.
Now. I am a woman and we live in a male-dominated and patriarchal society. Also, I have a trans child and I do very much worry about their safety. So perhaps these things have given me a little more empathy.
And here's why what I said to that man in the Dollar General was wrong yesterday:
First off, I think he may suffer from some mental health issues. I see him walking past my house talking to himself and whenever I greet him, he never responds. Obviously, he has no interest in speaking to me or with me and I should have respected that.
Secondly, what sort of white lady bullshit is it to imply that I might know more about where to find anything in the Dollar General store than he does?
Thirdly, "Are you looking for something?" is often code for "What the hell are you doing here? You look suspicious to me." And trust me- this is absolutely the truth. That is a very loaded question.
Of those three reasons that I should not have asked him that question, the one that resonates most loudly with me is the white lady bullshit one. "Oh here, you (probably) poor, (probably) uneducated, (possibly) not-quite-in-your-right mind, Black boy- let me, with my old, educated, white lady knowledge help steer you to an answer to the information you are so obviously seeking."
Yes. I was just trying to be helpful. Also, I have a sometimes ridiculous need to assure others that I see them, that I am not one of those people. And because of that, the second the words, "Are you looking for something?" left my mouth, I knew that I should have just walked on out of the store and given this man his privacy. In fact, even before he asked me if I worked there, those same words came to me- Do I work here? No. So why did I say that?
That's what I wanted to try and explain tonight. I hope you understand. And it's on me if people do not understand because these things are far more complex than just determining whether or not a person is being rude.
Was he rude? Eh, perhaps.
Do I understand why he said what he said?
And there you go. I will also tell you that I went to the Lloyd Farmer's Market this morning on my way to the post office and there were four tables set up. One was selling dessert-type items, one was selling spice mixes for rubs, one was selling crocheted doo-dads, and one was actually selling produce. I bought a basket of squash.
Not sure how any of those venders made enough money to pay for the gas to get to Lloyd, but perhaps things will be better in the spring.