Back Off, Buttercup!
By Katie Conrad on August 11, 2011
I am not a racist! I know by making that statement I’ve opened myself up to scrutiny. You know that old “thou dost protest too much” adage. However, I can honestly say the color of your skin, the wave of your hair, the religion you practice and the language you speak has absolutely nothing to do with the way I think of you. My assumptions and opinions of the people I interact with have everything to do with their facial expressions, body language, hygiene, dress, tone of voice, appropriateness of your interaction with me and so many other indicators I can’t possible list them all here. You know what I mean, and you probably have a list the things you notice about someone before you even notice whether they are black, white, indian, mexican or martian.
In the last two weeks, I have personally been accosted by two black men at two different gas stations on two separate occasions. I was by myself both times, and they both made me VERY uncomfortable. I was looking around for a HERO, I can tell you that much. Where the hell is Spidey when you need him?
The first man was a little, scrawny, dirty man that appeared to work at the Exxon station near my house. He was sweeping up litter with a red broom and long handled dust pan. He nodded at me as I pulled in. I nodded back politely at him. When I went in to pay (you know I’m doing that cash-only-envelope- budget thingy, remember) and came back out to pump, he was on the far side of my car and he said something I did not understand. I again nodded politely and went on with my gas pumping business. Then he’s coming toward me. I opened my car door as a barrier, and he leaned in and said in his best sexy voice, “You wanna call me baby?” I’m sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights, but recovered and said in my best bitch voice, “Move away from me!” while shooing my hands at him. He backed off meekly and said, “Oh, sorry…,” but kept giving me furtive glances over his shoulder like I might change my mind. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! I think I caught a wheelie as I was leaving. I could probably have kicked his ass, but I don’t want to have to put my kung-fu to the test. I might mess up my hair or something.
The second man was a big, fat, ugly dirty man that pulled into the Sunoco station on Asheville Highway as I was pumping my gas. All the other pumps were empty, but he pulled his crappy, old model pick-up truck with no air-conditioning right up behind where I was pumping gas. He tried making eye contact with me. I turned my back to him and continued pumping. He walked up behind me and said, “I wanna tell you, you look awful cool in them there shades you got on. What’s your name there pretty lady?” He came even closer trying to see my name on the nametag I wear during events and registration times at work. I covered my nametag with my hand and said tremulously, “Back away from me”. He scared me so bad, I’m sure it came out like a mewling kitten or something. I held up my hand in the “Stop, in the Name of Love” fashion, and again said forcefully, “Get Back!” There, that was better. He backed up (YAY!!) started walking toward the station, yelling as he went, “That’s a racist thing. You a racist! You want little black children to learn to be racist?” What I wanted to scream back at him was, “You nasty, dirty, stinky pig man! What did you think walking up to a woman all alone and hitting on her at a GAS STATION? Did you think I’d swoon? Agree to a date? You’re ugly! You stink! You have a nasty, dirty truck and you LEER at me? How dare you! I don’t care if you’re purple, you scare me. Now BACK OFF!!”
What I did was disconnect the pump and get the hell out of there before he came back out. I nearly ran over some old lady who was milling about. I didn’t even go back in for my $1.50 in change. What the hell is up with people lately? Why me? Don’t men know they will never be successful in picking up a woman at a gas station! And, I don’t dislike you because you’re black! It’s the way you act that makes all the difference! Now back off, before I get out my Karate Kid whooping crane kicking stance! I can do it in heels, too!
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