Jul 20, 2007

Getting the (Index) Finger

Today was the day where I almost hit a white man, with a cup of gelato. Let me explain.

It all began yesterday afternoon at a four-way stop where I was about to cut off another car who had the right-of-way. The driver in the green pathfinder slammed on the breaks, and leaned over towards the passenger side of his gas guzzler. Next thing I know, a pasty white index finger was pointing ferociously at me. The man gave my sister and I a good long stare. He looked appalled. He shook his head and sped off. I was stunned. I'd been shamed by the index finger, by the white man index finger. And the worst part is, I did feel shame in that moment.

Today, after a long and vigorous day of running errands with my sister, I ended up in the parking lot of a grocery store. I had dropped my sister off elsewhere and wanted to relax for a bit and wait for her in the car. I turned into the lot and drove towards a row of empty parking spaces. Only, I was going the wrong direction, the yellow arrow on the ground was hard to miss. The lot was near empty and I was a few metres away from the open spots. So I continued to make the final turn and stopped the car. I wasn't expecting to stay there long, maybe ten minutes tops. So I rolled down the windows, turned up Kweli's Reflection Eternal and began to spoon the remainder of my gelato.

Next thing I knew there was a voice coming from the outside of the car, next to my window. Then I saw the index finger, this time, with a different shade of pasty, and a bit more wrinkly.

"I hope you know you're parked in a handicapped spot," he snarked while continuing to point the finger at me. He then walked away from the car shaking his head. I looked behind me through the rear view mirror and saw the familiar blue and white sign.

"Oh, I didn't realize that," I said, immediately regretting the words that came out my mouth.

"Yeah, and I bet you didn't realize you turned the wrong direction in the parking lot. I guess it's hard to miss those bright yellow arrows," he snapped back. Though he was well away from the car, I could clearly make out the look of disgust on his face. It was similar to the one I'd seen the day before. I was being shamed again.

"Yeah, well thank you for letting me know," I said as sacrastically as possible, desperately holding back the "fuck you asshole" that was caught in my throat.

I took a look at the cup of gelato in my hand, and for a second, had the strongest urge to hurl it at the white man's head. Instead, I took a deep breath, turned on the car and drove off to find my sister.
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