On Prejudices 2

Ahem.

So, yesterday I wrote about Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling’s disgustingly racist comments and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s response (if you missed it, catch up here).

I embraced the view that the first step in combatting racism (or any type of prejudice, really) is to connect on a real level with somebody different than you, to really listen to their story.  My theory is that if you understand them, you won’t judge them so harshly.  You might–gasp!–develop empathy for their struggles and cheer on their victories.  Crazy, right?

Ok, technically I still embrace that view.  But as they say, “Charity begins at home…”

 

(Bear with me here… I’m gonna go off on a tangent and then bring it all home again.)

 

There are a lot of crazy drivers here in South Florida.  It helps that Easter and Passover are over, so all the snowbirds have flocked back north to less sweaty climates.  And shipped their cars back with them.

Bye bye, snowbirds!

Bye bye, snowbirds!

 

But there are still a lot of doofuses left who drive 10 mph under the speed limit in the left lane, or who signal .02 seconds before swerving in front of you and cutting you off (Harumph!).  And then there are the nitwits who recklessly weave in and out of traffic going 20 mph over the speed limit.

I realized that whenever reckless nitwits race around me, I got a lot angrier at them if they were driving a fancy, expensive car, like a flashy $55,000 BMW.  What a jerkface! I’d think really loudly in my head.  He’s so pushy and rude and entitled and thinks that everyone around him should get out of his way!  (Ok, I didn’t really think “jerkface.”  The word in my head wasn’t a very nice one, though.)

But if the reckless nitwit was driving a battered early 90s sedan, I’d think something along the lines of, Ugh! how rude!  Ok, maybe his wife’s about to give birth.  Or maybe he just has to pee really, really bad or he’ll explode.  Oh no, now I have to pee!

Why did I assume the expensive car guy was a jerk, but give the crappy car guy a break?

I think I have to reexamine some prejudiced beliefs a little closer to home…

Obviously, rich people aren’t necessarily jerks.  Poor guys aren’t necessarily saints.  But I think I should give everybody the benefit of the doubt instead of getting angry.  (Maybe ALL their wives are giving birth?  Maybe ALL their bladders are super full?)  That way I’ll be unbiased.  And at the very least, it’ll keep my blood pressure at a reasonable level.

 

<<The author of this post gets down off her high horse…>>

🙂

 

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Stereotyping

Speaking of customers who cause me stress, I’ve noticed that there’s a certain “type” of customer that I see a few times a week who is not my favorite: the pushy old white guy.

I think they’re mostly vacationers and/or snowbird retirees visiting Florida for the winter.  It’s never a businessman in a suit or sportcoat; the pushy old white guy is always dressed casually.

It’s the man who comes up to the counter and says, “Yeah, gimme a _____” while I’m still helping the customer in front of him.  When I tell him that I’ll be right with him as soon as I can, he doesn’t even have the grace to apologize or act embarrassed.  He just is impatient.

When I can give him my full attention, he usually orders without really making eye contact.

Oh, and he never tips.  Meanie.  😦

 

It’s nice to know that other businesses have to deal with this type of customer as well.  Recently, while trying to get my tire fixed (I apparently drove over a nail… sigh…), I was waiting for service at a tire shop when this pushy old guy zoomed past me with his walker.  The mechanic behind the counter started trying to help him first, but I waved and said I was actually next.  Nicely, of course.  Score one for patient, polite people.  Take that, pushy old guys of the world!

 

 

Thoughts on Christmas in South Florida

As you may or may not know, Florida is kind of a special state. And by “special” I mean “weird.” (If you don’t believe me, google “weird news Florida 2013”. You’ll see what I mean…) Despite all the crazy shenanigans of some non-representative Floridians, I gotta say I love this state. (I mean, I grew up here, and I certainly like to think I turned out just fine.)

That being said, being here for the holidays is unlike any other place.  Here are a few reasons why:

 

1. It’s hot.

I mean, duh, it’s Florida.  But seriously, you guys, I really wish I had packed shorts.  And more than 1 short-sleeved t-shirt.  When I left California, it was pretty chilly, and I was driving through some really cold temperatures.  Somehow it didn’t compute that my destination was gong to be so much warmer than my stops along the way.  (Most of my readers are probably saying “Oh boo hoo” to me.  And you’re right.  I deserve it.  But I am tired of being sweaty all the time.)

 

2. It’s humid.

My hair is poofy.  It’s not cute.

 

3. It’s crowded.

It’s basically like I never left LA with all the traffic.  In Florida you have “snowbirds” during the winter months, a.k.a. people who flock to the Sunshine State (ha! see my pun there?) to escape the colder temperatures pretty much everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.  And there are a LOT of them.  The roads are more crowded, the restaurants have much longer waits for a table, and don’t even try to find a parking space close to the mall entrance!

 

4. Floridians put Christmas lights on their boats.  And then have numerous parades.

Oooh pretty!

Oooh pretty!

 

4a. We also put Christmas lights on palm trees.  We still have Christmas trees inside like everybody else, but the outdoor holiday light displays often involve palm trees.

Yup.

Yup.

 

 

5. The local color is, well, colorful.

I was walking my dog in my dad’s neighborhood yesterday, when we happened upon a bottle-blonde mother-daughter duo powerwalking towards us.  They were dressed in matching black tank tops and electric blue leggings, and one of them was pushing a stroller.  I was too busy paying attention to my dog to realize that they were pushing a Maltese in the stroller until they were passing me.  I REALLY wish I’d had my phone (or camera) with me so I could share this bizarre moment with you all.  I don’t think Akela even realized there was a dog in the stroller because she didn’t bark or growl or even sniff at all.  Literally 10 seconds later, we were passed by an older gentleman driving a golf cart with a giant fluffy poodle riding shotgun.  Apparently the dogs here don’t have to walk.  Geez.

And there you have it, folks.  5 (1/2) reasons why spending the holidays in South Florida with my family is never dull.