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.


Blogger Lin said...

i hate cars and driving. that's pretty much what i attribute all the hostility that you experienced to. yes, hostility does happen outside of driving contexts of course, but there's something about the nature of cars and driving that i myself really hate.

i'm sorry you had to go through that... and glad that you didn't throw the gelato... that would have been such a waste!

11:27 PM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

i have a love-hate relationship with driving. i don't have a car and pretty much walk and bike everywhere...but i have to admit, i do love driving. sigh. it's wierd.

what's really annoying about this particular situation was the fact that i was being shamed by a white man. maybe that didn't come through very well in the story, but that's what really irked me about that whole thing. it's like, "don't point your damn finger at me!" ugh.

i'm just SO glad i didn't waste the gelato! you're so right about that! :)

3:50 AM  

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