Thursday, November 2, 2017

You Don't Know How it Feels To Be Me

Simplest Banana Pancake Ever
I'm not one hundred percent but I'm fairly certain that Brooklyn is the polar opposite of San Francisco.  We left SF so many years ago but that town has stayed with us in ways I can't always comprehend.  We joke about how even before social media political correctness was instilled in our conscience and to this day.  We questioned the authenticity of being shamed out of initial thought. To have to adjust your opinions to suit the judgement of others felt slightly pretentious.  But being the conscientious Midwesterners that we were, we went along. But we always held some skepticism.  New York is much different, almost to the extreme.  We figure it's more honest but not because it's trying to be, but because it has no collective hive-mind.  This is perhaps due to the vast amounts and diversity of our immigrants, class and social order.  That creates several degrees of perception. Also it's impossible to control.
I feel more free here to make remarks but less sure about my opinion.  All the uncensored candor has it's own drawbacks.  I'm not a fan of being frank at the expense of others.

But there is something to say about two people sharing moments of harsh honesty however unkind.  For example, within our highly diverse crew at work, we each have our groups that we love to wait on or are bothered by.  I love the Jews, the Poles, the Russians, the Antiguans, the old timey crude New York contractors to name a few.  I'm not as welcoming to the French for example, or the uppity butt cracks from Manhattan.  As a general rule we just don't gel.  And I think that's a fair assessment.  Hearing my coworker say she can't stand the Hasids, I struggle to sympathize, knowing full well there is no difference in our bigotry.  She just holds no shame whereas I'm full of it. For whatever our own weaknesses, the confession itself is genuine.  Admission shows a strength. To me it's a positive even through it's ugliness.

When I examine them, I can acknowledge some details of my prejudices.  Some easier than others.  My face contorts when middle class conservative parents come in with their college age child. The way the young adult is pampered and catered to like royalty, I resent the whole lot.  Never having that, maybe it's jealousy.  In these cases I challenge myself to be cool, not to judge, find common ground.  Sometimes I fail though and prove to be a cold ignoramus.

The worst is when they prove you right.  But truth should not dictate bad behavior.

Overall, things have shifted a bit in the last year. I blame the Trump agenda. You can say general statements like 'kids can be cruel' and that seems acceptable enough.  But if you break that down any further, it makes the important difference.  When I told the story of being knocked off my bike months ago by a group of school kids a couple of people at work reacted oddly as if I had said something flat out racist. I was a little spun by that.  Because the truth was in telling the story I didn't mention color, only that they were young.  But it was in the air like a bad stink.  I left it alone.

My mom always demanded a full description of a kid if I was to tell her a story coming home from school.  What was he, white or black, fat or short, poor or rich, etc.   She never said anything derogatory.  But as I got older I was annoyed that she always needed to know the particulars and deliberately left them out of my narrative.  Later in life she mentioned she was harassed quite a bit by the girls in her school,who were all white.  Called horrible names and ridiculed. That didn't make her not like white people because that was everyone in 1933 Chicago. Instead I think she just became more reserved, more intent on being a clean decent person.  She was being protective of me I realize now.

At work I can say, we have a lot of irate customers but if I describe the Polish woman that came in to buy a kitchen who was an emotional ticking time bomb, and the one most likely to have a conniption fit of astronomical proportions if she felt she was not getting good customer service, suddenly I sound like a jerk, even to myself.  We have a Polish woman working in the department now who is amazing, tons of energy and is nothing like these half cocked examples I keep meeting time and time again.  A generation has been a huge improvement.

Maybe because class is the last unprotected group it's okay to joke to anyone at work about highly educated people. And it's true that every single architect in the history of coming into that place first and foremost announces 'I am an architect', hand to God, no lie.  I've always found that hilarious but must disclose also distasteful. Bragging of any kind has always been frowned upon where I come from. And by the way they are generally the most annoying personality types that can't seem to grapple their way out of a paper bag.  I imagine they can't help it.  Maybe when you're super connected to detail, you lose ability to think simply.

People from India ask a hell of a lot of questions. And the women talk to me as if they're my headmaster, demanding lengthy explanations. This is an observation by me.  It's accurate in my experience but these are probably the thoughts best kept to myself.  But if you're interested I have a whole chapter on being 'schooled' and also funny ones having charmed them like the doctors on Planet of the Apes with my unexpected intelligence.

I love Jewish people and almost every Islander I ever met.  They can do no wrong, even when the do.

Russian customers are loud ass and are quick to get all Yosemite Sam on ya, but also the nicest people I've met of such large size.

The Japanese are not my favorites just as a general thought.  Individually most prove me right each week.  Not every single time.  But that is not acceptable to comment on.  It's more a statement about me.  What's my problem?  Hell I don't want to think about it that hard, they just bug me.  If pressed I'd say in my experience the girls act stupid to appear sexually more attractive and doll-like. How can you take someone seriously that's speaking in the voice of a 3 year old and has on striped knee socks and pig tails?  For the most part though, these are tourists coming through so why deprive them of a little fun.  I must have been wearing fishnets in the 90's to attract something or other myself.

The young black women at work are doing amazingly interesting things with their hair and style. To me, they are the true current true rebels of our time.  But there have been so many shared stories on the subject I'm afraid to ask about it or call attention, in any way, let alone ever ask to touch their hair lest I offend the entire population.  When I was little, Felicia my neighbor across the street corn-rowed my hair all the time and asked if she could brush it.  None of my white friends ever did. I didn't mind it one bit. I looked forward to the attention and the awesome, shocking new do at the end.

This week I was told we have two new people that identify as the opposite sex so we are asked to now refer to them either in gender neutral terms or call the she a he and vice versa. As a side joke, P and I immediately realized we identify with being taller, much taller than we are and wonder if someday that will also be respected.

I understand gender issues. I'm a woman, who acts as a girl who thinks like a 14 year old boy. I'm immature as hell and goofy to my core. I have trouble with what a 55 year old woman is supposed to be.  I have no problem with calling a woman a guy.

Nothing is simple when you focus in.  Except for these 2 ingredient banana pancakes.  Smash up one banana, whip in one egg with fork, pour onto griddle.  How easy is that?  Take out all the bullshit and it's still a delicious pancake.

People are different and Praise Be for that!  I don't want the same. I love diversity, that's why I moved to New York.  That don't mean its all a good thing.  But we as a country need to take a tip from this crude Big Apple and figure out how to celebrate and justly bitch about it too without all the drama.

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