Monday, May 15, 2006

Layover At OHare Airport

I'm in the O'hare Hilton and it's after midnight. I arrived here from Atlanta, where I was visiting Mom for about over two weeks. Then I needed to get back to Oakland and so thought I could wait stand-by -- big error. I made it as far as Chicago, then got bumped from flight after flight. Maybe the 6:30 AM holds a prayer?

I went to a cool bar that's like walking into a 1940s variety show and speakeasy, and in the Hilton. Poor marketing. The O'Hare Hilton does nothing to sell you on this place. You have to walk in and see it.

So, I sat at the bar with some guys from Canada. They didn't know each other. I was having a great conversation with a guy named Ian. So another guy -- who was pretty drunk -- decides he's gonna by me a glass of wine; I accept (would not say no, unless I'd had too many; this was just one). But after a while, as I'm leaving, he starts into a statement: "Well, I don't care if you're black or white, I like ya. Ya know, black..."

My response was "That's between you and your therapist." I didn't give him time to finish. I just paid my bill -- well I was already in the process of paying it -- got up and left. And no, I didn't have that wine he offered.

Why is it that some white men in bars -- it's happened too many times to avoid the generalization -- have to go into racial conversation after they've had a few? What's up with that? It's really sick. I mean here I was thinking "This is a well-adjusted man," and then....Poof! Not!

I think -- well, let me put it this way: I don't care what the reason is, just put the kabash on it.

It happens way too often and I'm developing a zero-tolerance for it. And if you're white and female and see this and do nothing to stop it, you're no better. This is crazy. If I stopped to list the number of times this has happened -- in detail -- you'd puke. It even happened on the plane ride from Atlanta to Chicago. The guy I was sitting next to was well-meaning, but just launched to a commentary on blacks and interracial dating. Once I causally explained that racism is considered to be a mental illness and why this was, he chilled his words a bit and we were back on a good coversational course..

I was happy I slipped the "therapist" line in. It fit.