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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Racism Among the Classical Shoes

This past week I took dirty Fila to see a live performance of Vivaldi Four Seasons. Anyone who knows me knows that Four Seasons is absolutely one of my most favorite pieces of music to hear. When I saw that it was being performed in the newspaper, I was all over getting tickets. The don't call me the "Vivaldi Hummer" for nothing! The tickets were general so there was no assigned seats. I was going to be sure I got a front row seat or pretty darned close. It was held in one of the old historical churches downtown and we arrived about 45 minutes before the performance began.

We were able to get the third pew from the front. Yeah! The pews were normal long pews but they were divide in the middle by a wooden divider. On the center aisle on the left side of the third pew was a white couple already seated. dirty Fila and I went on the right aisle and sat on the right half of the third pew. We were in heaven...or maybe it was just me. I could see everything with no blockages at all. There were other people there as well, all very early so we could get a good seat. We all waited in silence for the performance to begin.

The church began to fill up and I did look around a time or two and of course dirty Fila and I were the only people of color. (Typical for the places that we go. Where the black people are, I do not know.) Well if you really had to, you could squeeze in and have 4 people on each 1/2 of a pew--on each side of the wooden divider; but, you will be elbow to elbow and cramped. Noone was sitting like that at all near the front. There were 2 people on each pew half. Well about 5-8 minutes before the performance was to begin, 2 middle aged women came walking down the right side aisle and I wondered where they were going. They stopped at our pew. Not the two ahead of us or the ones behind. Right were dirty Fila and I were sitting. Now to the right of us across the aisle was entire row of pews that were empty. Noone was sitting over there on the extreme right side of the church.

These two ladies were very entitled in their own minds. They were round little balls of pudge and not as nicely dressed as dirty Fila and I were. They had some nerve. One of them said to me with no please or an sort of nice in her voice at all, " I need you to move over to the other half of the pew so we can sit here, if you are not holding seats for someone coming."

Immediately the following thoughts swirled into my head: Had she lost her damned mind? Are we back in the times of segregation and Rosa Parks when black people had to give up their seats to white people? Heeeelllllll NO! I KNOW she did not ask me to give up my $36 seat and give it to her. If she wanted a good seat, she could have arrived 48 minutes early....3 minutes before that she could get a good seat. I know she done lost her damned mind! She don't want me to go crazy up in here! She had better get the hell away from me and this pew.

I took a deep breath and spoke not a word. We were in church. dirty Fila and I were the only people of color there. The people in the pews all around us were all looking at what was happening. I let that breath out and spoke.

"NO. We are not moving. This is where we are sitting." That is all I said to her. My tone was clear (and not nice) that she had just messed with the wrong one and it could get ugly if she pursued. She just looked at me. I looked away at the stage ahead of me.

Puff ball and her friend then spoke to each other and said they would sit on the other side of the wooden divider. They were expecting one more to join them. Instead of going around to the center aisle, they decided to push on past dirty Fila and I. Well, you know that the room between pews is narrow and most people turn and side step around those who are sitting. Not these two. They were mad that I would not give up our seats to them so they decided to try to walk by, not side stepping. I did not move and they did not once say" excuse me" or anything as they bumped dirty Fila and I as they squeezed in . Well once they sat down they were cramped. I could see out of the corner of my eye that the right buttcheek of the friend was on the wooden divider. She could not sit all the way on the pew because the white couple who was sitting on the right half of the pew did not move over to accomodate them. They were cramped. I just looked straight ahead and continued to wait on the performance to begin.

They sat for a minute or two and then the one with the butt cheek on the wooden divider whispered to her friend that she felt faint and that she needed to move. Well, they decided to move. Again they did not go out the center aisle. They should have as they were on the other side of the wooden divider. It would make sense that they leave on the 1/2 of the pew that they were on. But no! They had to come back over firty Fila and I again. Again not side stepping at all. The friend was the first one out. The one who did the asking to me was the last one out. Now she passed me and was passing dirty Fila. She seemed to slow down and wiggle her butt purposely. I felt this and it was not confirmed until dirty Fila said the same thing to me later that she thought that she had done the same thing.

God took care of it. He knows when people are being evil. We were in church. Puff ball--she forgot that. We. Were. In. Church. God was watching her wiggle her butt in our faces. He fixed her good. He took care of it right on the spot. God and angels will fight your enemies for you.

Let's back up to when we sat down when we first came in. I noticed a prayer request sheet on the floor when we sat down and I asked dirty Fila if she had accidently knocked that down from the pew pocket in front of her. She said no, it was there already. We did not touch it. It stayed on the floor. Well Puff Ball was in obvious need of prayer for the way she was acting. All of a sudden Puff ball was no longer wiggling. She was tripping and falling. Tripping on the prayer request form that was on the floor. She fell on her right knee, right at dirty Fila's feet. I heard the loud trip and saw her go down and looked backto the stage. I looked to be sure she was not touching dirty Fila or asking for help. She was not. But she was now wedged between the pews and dirty Filas legs.

My child could not move and Puff ball could not get up. She was struggling. Her friend just turned around and just looked, did not help her, hold out her hand or anything. After a minute or two of her struggling her friend finally held out her hand and helped her up. I know she was not waiting for me or my child to help her. She was on her own. She had no right trying to do what she was doing anyway. It made no sense for her to go back out where we were sitting. She should have gone out the center aisle. I surpressed a laugh and Puff heard it. That was okay. She and her friend left and went to the rear of the church.

I enjoyed Vivaldi. It was out of this world. In the car later dirty Fila and I had a good laugh at what happened. dirty Fila gave me a description of a view that I could not see. She said that Puff ball went down on the right knee and had to fling out both her hands to brace herself on the floor or she would have fallen smack on her face.

It is 2006 but racism is still very real. As a parent I have to be sure that dirty Fila knows and can recognize racism when it happens so that she does not get caught in the wrong place with the wrong people. She has to be aware so that she is safe. She is not around many people of color, ever, nor are there many at her school. We attend a church that has less than 10 people of color as members and we are part of the 10. The world is changing...slowly. Not fast enough for me.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

2 Broken Heels:

TC said...

Some people are just complete ***holes (to use the polite term).

Serves her right!

Tinker said...

tc: that whole thing was just crazy!