It has been over a year since I wrote anything. Sorry, fear of failure or perfectionism I suppose. Perhaps the same thing. Anyway, the nice folks at wordpress informed me that this blog has experienced readers from 66 countries since the last post. I didn’t know there were that many countries. Now I’m sorry on an international level. Okay so enough of that.
As to the “Starting Over” initiative that launched this foray, I’m pleased to say that I’ve happily been seeing the same woman for four years, the amazing Number 21. On another occasion I’ll return to the original theme for this blog, but tonight my mind is troubled by something different. Tonight, let’s diverge to a less personal topic. If you didn’t know before, I live in America and race relations are an issue. I offer this information only because I honestly am not sure what the term “race relations” may mean in your country. In America, it means black (African American) and white mostly.
Tonight I stopped off at the grocery store on the way home. I don’t plan meals, nor shop a week in advance. My refrigerator includes little other than maybe some ice cream, beer, miscellaneous detritus like mustard, ketchup, mayo, soy sauce, sriracha etc. and some spoiled vegetables. I buy what I’m going to eat that night. Tonight it would be a good meal. In the checkout line I had accumulated a steak, potato, spinach, head of garlic, bottle of pinot noir and well, nothing else. As the checkout clerk, a young African American woman was adding up the tab she stopped and held up the potato asking “what kind of potato is this”? I shrugged. She continued, “is this a white potato”? My mouth, without first consulting the brain said “yes, but all potatoes matter”. Potentially a mistake (if you miss the reference google ‘black lives matter’), albeit an innocent one. I felt tension. Why?
I blame Anderson Cooper. Watched his show the other night on which were three African American congressmen decrying the lack of dialog among black and white Americans. Never seemed to be an issue in my experience. Then I checked my contact list and discovered few African Americans I’d consider close. A couple guys friends, but not really that close. I looked more closely at the contact list and found it very diverse from an ethnic standpoint but not so many African Americans. This never occurred to me. The “lack of dialog” statement had passed me by, but now took on a different note. I’ve never really understood why someone would struggle with skin colors or ethnic differences, in fact have always enjoyed diverse perspectives. And my experience has been pretty broad. However, it turns out for the black-white portion of that conversation, my experience has apparently been limited. So maybe this “lack of dialog” concept might just be more than a sound byte. So how does one start such a dialog when one has until now, not really perceived that there wasn’t one? Doesn’t really seem as much a political thing as it should be a personal common sense thing.
. . . On hearing the ‘all potatoes matter’ comment, the checkout clerk let out an honest, robust laugh. So did the bagger (also African American) and so did the woman behind me in line (race unknown). It was a smiling moment for us to share.
Perhaps I’m an isolated idiot. Perhaps my comment was stupid. Perhaps it planted a positive seed. A dialog does in any event, seem like a good idea. Can it really be that hard?