Friday, November 7, 2008

Do my ears deceive me?

Scene: Dollar Rental car agency just outside Bradley International Airport

Date/Time: Monday, November 3, 2008 @4:30pm

Characters: Three Dollar employees (all are Caucasian American in their thirties, 2 are female, one is male), Three customers waiting for the shuttle to Bradley Airport (2 are Caucasian and look to be a mother and teenage daughter, 1 is an Asian American female in her late 30s).

Female Dollar Employee #1: "Would you look at this handwriting? I can't make out if it is the number 1, or the number 7, or a Chinese man dancing!" (she laughs)

Female Dollar Employee #2: (Joining in the laughter--very boisterously) "That is SO FUNNY!"

Male Dollar Employee: (finishes his phone call and notices his co-workers laughing hysterically at this point). "What's so funny?"

Female Dollar Employee #2: "She (points to fellow employee) said that this handwriting is so bad it looks like a little man dancing."

Male Dollar Employee: (puzzled) "Oh..."

Customers waiting inside: Silent

[interior monologue of the Asian American customer:

"Chinese man dancing???!!! WTF is that supposed to mean??? Is that a racist comment??? Why did they glance at me and why are they laughing so hard???? Am I being paranoid/oversensitive? Should I say something? What do I say? I am SO TIRED and just want to catch my flight I have to say something? Wait, now the woman is saying that it is a "little" man dancing. Did I mishear the first woman? I could have SWORN she said "Chinese man dancing"? Why else would they be laughing so hard? But maybe I misheard the first woman...maybe my racial paranoia is making me hear things. But NO! I DID hear her say that! But if I say something, they're just going to tell me I misheard, and I KNOW I didn't mishear. Damn, there's the shuttle, I'm just going to let this go, even though this is bothering me and making me feel uncomfortable...."

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