A while back, say 3 or 4 months, a friend of mine and myself decided to dine at a local Chinese place which we often frequent for lunch (best Chinese food this side of the Pacific). We've gone there a good while now and gotten to know the staff there. Not on a personal level exactly, but more on a "nod and make small talk when you enter and don't spit in your food" level. The staff is, as you might or might not expect, entirely Chinese. That bothers us not one bit; we enjoy the diversity of other cultures and respect them, China folk being no exception. They can cook like no ones business, they can build impressive (great, even) walls, and the list of accomplishments continues.
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While sitting in the stix of the restaurant, as we are oft forced to do as we like to put as much distance between any other living soul and ourselves, we promptly began to enjoy our excellent meal. Good conversation and food alike ensued and the rest of the world was soon as distant buzz in the background. This was no doubt the reason I didn't hear the "Southan Ladie" arrive in her horse and buggie (named Oldsmobile), no doubt straight from her white mansion on the hilltop. A tap on the shoulder brought my head around.
"They sure make good food, don't they?" The woman said to me, now sitting at the table directly behind us.
"I've never been around so many of them before."
Apparently she and her husband alike had decided to "throw caution to the wind" and dine at the most unlikely of locations; a restaurant run by the savage Chinese. By the way she carried on, it was as if (and I don't see how this is possible) she had never before had Chinese food. And let me tell you, at her age (i.e. old) I don't know how she could have avoided even accidently managing to get a bit of lo mein between her dry, shriveled lips. I would think after 170 years or so, she would have somehow tasted Chinese (food), but no.
I wish I had written this right after the event so I could recall all the conversation we (unwillingly) had. It mostly consisted of her commenting on how much like the color of a pale lemon the staff looked, adding emphasis on the words "they" and "them", and myself sitting in wide-eyed horror that I might be associated as a friend of this person. She (the husband remained respectfully silent, obviously wishing he were elsewhere...either because of his wife's boldness or because he was too good to eat with "the Chinaman") also threw out a few comments about the Great Wall of China, and how it is indeed an impressive sight, but she was amazed how they could perform such a feat of modern day engineering (though it doesn't compare to the modern day Egyptian architecture; the pyramids).
All the while, my friend across the table is changing colors from trying not to explode with laughter. So while he's over there getting humor from this, I'm starting to chuckle slightly to myself, trying my best to hold it in as well, all the while starting face to sagging face with this decidedly evil woman. She sees me humored and takes it to mean I'm laughing at her racist comments, while in truth I wanted nothing more than to stop talking to her so the workers don't think I'm on her "side".
I understand how some people can be racists, though I don't condone it (leave the past in the past I say). It's not like the Chinese enslaved the rich, upper-class Southerners in the bloody Georgia Revolution. To be fair, I couldn't tell if "Miss Belle" was simply in awe of eating in the same room (and the same food!) of a different race or she was just being condescending. But just an idea...if you can't manage to talk about people of other cultures like they are part of humanity and not a woodland creature, perhaps you should stray from eating in their abode. I know you may feel invincible yet even still, I would think you of all people would know that every Chinese (and indeed, every Oriental) person knows some sort of deadly martial arts and there is no barrier from stopping them from jump kicking your high in the air asses all the way out the door, after a series of graceful flips through ladder rungs and off the wall.