Staring Strangers Unite

6 01 2011

I am starting a union for all of us staring strangers who are not actually racist or judgmental.  Because I know why you think I am staring at you, and I wish I could figure out a way to explain why I am actually doing it (besides the fact that I obviously have no self-control).

I am living a life that has at least some very real similarities to yours.  But I left my son at home.  And I forget that you can’t just tell by looking at me and my pink daughter that we are also a trans-racial family.  I am just trying to figure out if your beautiful son is from Ethiopia.  He has the eyes (man, does he have the eyes).  And I need more connections in my new home town.  And you look like you would be very nice.

But your son is more than old enough to understand me if I ask you any questions.  And despite the fact that I usually can come up with a smart-ass comment in about half-a-second flat, I apparently can not figure out the way to politely inquire about your kid despite the fact that the guy ringing up my groceries is moving at the speed of a glacier prior to global warming.  So I will stand here trying to be sly, while the check out guy weighs my cabbage because I am making WOT for GANNA.  Can you hear me screaming these Ethiopian words in my head hoping we will make a connection????

No, you can’t hear my thoughts.  But I can hear yours.  “Hey, stupid racist lady, don’t you know that I can see you staring at my son?  We are only two feet away from you.  And why aren’t you controlling your daughter better?”

It wasn’t until we were well into the parking lot that I came up with the amazingly creative, “Your son looks a lot like my son.”

Duh.

Next time.  Of course if this particular guy sees me coming first he will move to the other side of the store.  After all, who wants to expose their children to racist strangers like me?

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8 responses

7 01 2011
Christine

I have done this before, too, and I don’t even have my Ethiopian kid home yet.

7 01 2011
Jamey

This is very funny. I’ve been in similar situations and NEVER thought of the absolutely appropriate and not-creepy comment of “Your son looks a lot like my ‘daughter’.” Of course, you might want to be careful with that because maybe between the staring and the comment she’ll think you’re implying something about her and your husband! lol

7 01 2011
Erin

Aw, man! How frustrating.
Maybe train PJ to belt out “you look like my brother” when you cue her.

8 01 2011
Courtney Rose

YES. You finally came up with what to say in those circumstances. EXACTLY. Thank you, semi-feral, thank you.

9 01 2011
Wendy

Hilarious! I do this all the time. I have two girls, one from the Philippines and one from Thailand. I’m always on the lookout for connections to their birthcountries, particularly since we live in 98% Caucasian community.

Cute story: The other day I was in line at my 6 year old’s school waiting to pick her up at dismissal. My 18 year old daughter (Filipina) was with me. An adorable little Asian five year old kept staring at my teenager. Finally, she said, “You know something? You look like a Filipino to me. I know because I’m a Filipino and my mom is a Filipino, too.” She was so excited to make that connection with my daughter.

9 01 2011
Missy @ It's Almost Naptime

Simpatico right here, sister.

9 01 2011
Cazadora

I am cracking up, this resonates so deeply!

10 01 2011
Kristen

Oh, I’ve so been there!

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