Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Please Shut Up, Beth...






I choose to believe it is a testament to my friendly and seemingly innocent demeanor that I managed to avoid offending an extremely nice gentleman.  (I hope.)  I should also credit my lifelong aura of “niceness” (something I usually bemoan) and his good nature.


The gentleman - a salesman at Staples - was assisting me in finding a power adapter and cover for my new Kindle.  The power adapter?  No problem.  But the availability of covers to fit my particular Kindle was limited.  As we leaned forward gazing at the selection in the small display area, we were so close our heads almost touched. 

Taking one of the covers off a metal rung, he held it out for my inspection.  “How about this one?”

I gave it a brief glance, resumed looking at the display and announced, “I don’t like the colour black.”  As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I froze - mortified. 

He was black. 

Up to this point, we’d had been engaging in a friendly chat about e-readers & other book related topics.  There was now compete and utter silence.  Which lasted only a matter of seconds but which seemed much, much longer.

I didn’t dare look at him to gauge his reaction to my thoughtless & offensive (although unintentionally so) remark.  Nor did I apologise or attempt an explanation for fear of making an awkward situation even more so.  Instead, in an effort to rectify my social faux pas, I committed yet another one.  “But I do like brown.”

I bought the black cover.  It fit.  And it looks very nice.

To my amazement, he walked with me to the cashier’s desk, carrying the adapter.  Which I was quite capable of carrying myself.  And he resumed our friendly chat – stayed with me while I paid for my purchases.

He chose to overlook (forgive?) my stupid, stupid, stupid remarks.  Or perhaps he never even noticed my insensitivity?  I wish…  

I still cringe thinking of the encounter.  And while I didn’t apologise then, I’m offering an apology now.  For all the good that does…

Worse yet?  (Well, it can’t be worse than what I did.)  I can’t be certain or guarantee I won’t do such a thing again.  How does one censor a lifelong tendency to be friendly, chatty and unguarded?  I suppose I could always restrict myself to “yes” or “no” and “please” and “thank you” responses when talking with strangers. 

Doubtful.



photo credit: goggle images

18 comments:

oreneta said...

AWKWARD!!!!! OMG!!!!!

Gorilla Bananas said...

You made him feel awkward by feeling awkward. "Black" as in the funereal colour has little to do with the racial description. There is nothing wrong with not liking the colour black. I'm sure many "black" people don't like it.

laughingwolf said...

hah!

i do things like that... often not catching it til more'n a tad late

my genius can be s l o w at times...

Lainey-Paney said...

On the other hand: if you made a flat statement of "I don't like the color white," I wouldn't be offended just because I'm white.

I think: not wanting a black kindle cover is completely different than saying, "I don't like black people."

I just don't think that if I was a Staples employee and you didn't like something in the color white, that I would associate it with liking or not liking white people.

....that's my $0.02.

nursemyra said...

What Lainey-Paney said is true.

And for the record my Kindle cover is brown

Cathy@ALIttleBitOff.net said...

Oh,Beth! You would relate to my tale of woe trying to learn the iPad - "An 'i' for an 'i'." It's in my March archives at www.ALIttleBitOff.net. Loved your piece!

Beth said...

oreneta:
Yeah, quite so…

GB:
Still, I think we felt awkward simultaneously – hence the mutual silence. And my next remark didn’t help. But what a great guy.

LW:
Your genius may be slow – my mouth works too fast...

Lainey-Paney
I still wish I’d simply said, “I don’t want the colour black.”

nursemyra:
My colour of choice – too bad it didn’t fit.

Cathy:
I’ll check it out. Thanks for the visit!

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Oh, please forgive me for laughing so hard and so long. We are so darned conditioned to be P.C. Your first comment should never have been taken personally, but through common jargon, of course YOU thought it MIGHT be. Oh, poor you. I hope that at least you got something you like. Oh dear, still laughing. And commending you on your diplomacy. giggle snort

Zhu said...

Oh I can imagine the scene! I doubt he thought much of it though, I think sometimes we are being too sensitive and too PC.

We can get pretty offensive with our cultural jokes at home (it happens when you mix several cultures!) and I have to watch what I say with people who don't know me much.

And I have the same BLACK cover :-D

Beth said...

Zhu:
You’re right – and I’m sure he’s long since forgotten the incident whereas I…
Nice cover!

The Bodhi Chicklet:
You’re forgiven – and you made me laugh. A sense of humour is a wonderful thing…

My diplomacy??!!

Jaya J said...

hahaha. sometimes we do that. i do it too without much thinking. i think the man knew that you didnt mean that :)

what i hate is when some intentionally do it over and over again. i know a few here. they must like retarded or something.

Beth said...

Jaya J:
I would never, ever do such a thing intentionally. And I think he did know that.

Sherry said...

I think you are over-thinking this...because you are trying to be politically correct -- without even thinking about it. Not liking the colour black has nothing to do with the colour of someone's skin...and I'm thinking that the salesman didn't even notice it. Take comfort from that!

Beth said...

Sherry:
Over-thinking - one of my many (and well-established) flaws. Can often lead to trouble - imaginary or otherwise... ;)

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Oh Beth, I've made that type of comment (and MUCH worse) many times. I understand your feelings. I'd feel the same. But he likely thought nothing of it. You were looking at kindle covers, not commenting on skin pigmentation. It's tough to always be sensitive and politically correct, mixed with human.

xoRobyn

Beth said...

Robyn:
Much worse? If so, I feel MUCH better knowing there's someone else who suffers from "foot in mouth disease." ;)

Extenze Reviews said...
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Extenze Reviews said...
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