Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear Mayo, All Apologies

I am going to tell you a secret. There is not a slice, but a whole piece of heaven on 8th St. and Nicollet Mall. Stand there and you won’t find it, but step into Barnes & Nobles, find a magazine or book that has a story to it (not just any story), go to the second floor up the stairs (because escalators are for kids, stairs are for champions), take a right and go to the corner windows. Pull up a chair, place your feet on the metal air conditioner and watch. Watch the whole thing roll by in slow motion hype. If you ever have the privilege to check it out, you can thank me later…

Because I’m feeling generous at the moment, I am going to tell you another secret… I don’t apologize. I rarely say “sorry” and rarely regret divots in the path I pave. Blame it by the attitude I was instilled with from my father, or the amount of stubborn natured people that have impacted my life… but just as I said, it would be an excuse. I take full responsibility for my bull-headed cold bloodedness, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, right now, at this immediate moment, I am saying “sorry”. Not verbally, simply aloud from the heart. Sometimes things are better said through any other medium than speaking…

Who am I apologizing to, you ask? Her name is Mayo (Jea, Mayo will do for all blog/public purposes). I won’t put her business out there, but I can tell you she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. Not only on the surface, but more so within. The gal has a heart of gold, a will to generate her own inertia, and a mind sharp enough to skip the learning curve. If I were in a more liberal mood, I’d say “ol’ gurl got skills”… but I’m not, so we’ll leave it at “she’s beautiful in & out.

Hmm, how to explain the apology and what it’s for, and why I’m giving any life to it, blah blah blah… it starts at Brit’s Pub (not too far away from that whole piece of heaven on Nicollet & 8th). Here, let me take you to St. Patrick’s day, a few months ago:

I entered the Pub looking for a friend I was supposed to meet. Brit’s was absolutely packed to the brim with amateur hour intoxication and young urban professionals who exchanged their passion for a downtown big-boy job (Can you sense the bitterness? I can’t). I grab a pint, find my friend and do the best I can to cater to the table in a tight crowd. My friend introduces me to her friend, Karen (for all Dane Cook purposes, Karen is the best name I can give this girl). Freshly graduated from college, working a big-girl job way out in the burbs, and taking out the week’s angst on her drink for the current moment, Karen is every bit of what makes the tension go round. She’s a poster-girl for road rage, suburban living, and man-eaters. If I had a crystal ball, I’d only need it to tell you if she’s going to emasculate or manipulate her future husband or boyfriend. Wait a second… did I just make a snap judgment? Gah, Toussaint you presumptuous bastard… let’s hear her out first before we start judging an actor by their headshot.

Before she can shoot me qualifications, I draw first, “So, Karen what do you do?” She goes on to spill her passion for animals, how she works for an environmental lab somewhere near Bethel College, how she loves the dolphins, and can’t stand men. Glad we could remove all doubt on this one. What’s strange about Karen is the intensity that seems to be building with every sentence that reveals itself from her mouth. After talking about the dolphins for a minute straight, she’s literally yelling from the top of her lungs… at me, the friend I came to see, and potentially the bar. Her eyes go dark with a drunken maddening rage she’s worked herself into- and blang… she’s peaked. “Have you seen the documentary called The Cove, the documentary about the dolphins in Japan, and how these fucking Japanese poachers hunt dolphins? Ugh I can’t fucking stand them. I’m glad that quake hit that country, they fucking deserved it!”

I go dark, myself. Hold it back. Her mouth is moving, but my ears are mute. My friend isn’t saying anything to her, just listening and weathering the word storm of “20-something crazy white woman” angst, Karen willingly hoses down the table with. Within the purity of the moment, I doubt I will ever be able to marry a white woman… for shame that someday we would have kids, and she just might get drunk & angst enough to unveil a disgusting diluted perspective such as the one Karen is spilling right now. My brain then inverses to the foundation of bringing up kids of color with a non-white woman, the fundamentals of parenting with someone who can relate and empathize on issues of race & ethnicity- and then I start thinking about McDonalds breakfast and how it’s been a damn long time since I’ve ordered a number 2.

Karen finishes her drunken rant. I smile, look to my friend, bid her adieu, turn to Karen “It was nice meeting you”. Exit.

Anywhere else but here, the walkaway was delightful- delovely even. I think my feet got lighter with every step paired with the smile I couldn’t seem to drop. I couldn’t have been more in love with the liberty to do what I want, and 100% disengage with someone proclaiming Japan deserves nothing short of a widespread tragedy. There’s more that could be said- shit, there’s more than more to be said on Karen, but in the end… value your time more than to stand around and smile it thru a irrational rant for the sake of your company’s comfort level. Fuck your arm-chair-liberal-comfort-zone-bullshit-Minnesota Nice, yeah I said it. –Boom… it hits. A memory from a few weeks ago strikes the grin off my mug. After the quake had hit Japan, I’d facebook status’d “Whoa, Japan moved 8 ft., and the earth’s axis shifted 4 inches… end of the world, or is god angry about the Packers winning the bowl too?” Immediately several people commented “lol” underneath the status… except for one.

Mayo’s from Japan, and didn’t find my status update “lol-able”. She gave me a few heated words via Facebook messaging, I gave her the same fire back, but it’s in the instant on Nicollet mall… swagged out in H&M from head to toe, looking every bit a Christmas commercial amongst the old Minneapolis brick road and beaming streetlights, I’m no better than a drunk 20-something white gal shouting racial obscenities thru the air… I’m no better than Karen. And for that, Mayo, I am sorry. I marginalized an absolute tragedy for not only an entire country, but for a planet as well to pay witness to such a horrible disaster… via Facebook status and didn’t take responsibility for it.

The realization lasted all of a few seconds, as thoughts usually do- speeding, disappearing, reappearing. This one, however, was worth documenting aloud from the heart.

A text rolled in from my friend to apologize for Karen’s behavior. My smile returned, and I couldn’t help but think I’m the last person anyone should be apologizing to. I paced the Nicollet Mall, slow enough to savor each step against the brick… slowly back to that whole piece of heaven on 8th st.

1 comment:

  1. you are a fabulous writer and good for you for owning your actions.