Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Black is as black does

I'm a firm believer that very few good things happen after midnight (or 2:30 if you're on college student time). Here's a story supporting that.

Some time in the last week or two, I got off work at 3:00am. I wasn't too thrilled with this. But, whatareyougonnado, right? I'd gone on break early that night and was kinda hungry when I got off. I wrestled with whether I should just go straight home or stop by the local Fry's Food & Drug, which is conveniently open 24 hours a day. I went for the latter. I didn't want anything too big. Just a thing of cottage cheese (which is probably one of my favorite dairy products ever created).

So, I drive slightly out of my way to go to Fry's. I hop out of my car, and hear people in a nearby truck calling out to me. Remember, it's past 3 in the morning at this point, so while normally if this were to happen, I would do what you're supposed to do whenever "Stranger Danger" approaches (stop, drop, and roll, right?), I instead approached to see what these gentlemen wanted.

I never got their names, so I'll call them Anton and Tyrone. Anton, in the passenger seat, told me that he and Tyrone, the driver, were well overage to be purchasing alcohol, but Fry's for some reason would not accept their out-of-state licenses. Now, this store is about a mile and a half south of a campus that attracts many out-of-state students, so for them not to accept licenses from said students makes about as much sense as a vegan making honey barbecue chicken for dinner with a side of cheesy eggs and a glass of warm deer blood. I told them that I didn't think that that made sense, and they agreed. Anton then asked if I could be a dear and purchase said alcohol for him and his friend. While I did believe that they were of the legal age to drink, I politely declined their request, because I just wanted to get in, grab my cottage cheese, and get out. I didn't want to deal with anything else. Tyrone then asks, "Are you black?" I was confused at this question because I figured that his eyes worked fine since he was the driver and anyone whose eyes work even remotely can tell that I am. Because I was confused, I asked, "What does that have to do with anything?" Again, this is something that I probably wouldn't do had it not been 3:15 in the morning. Anton interjected, "Just answer. Are you black?" I told them what their eyes had already let them know--that, yes, I am indeed black. For some reason, we stayed on the subject of what race I was. "Black and what?" Anton questioned. "I'm just black," I clarified, wondering if they were maybe census takers in their down time. Tyrone then instructed me, "Then take yo' black self* on!" as they drove away to another parking spot to ask someone else to purchase their beverages for them.

I continued into the Fry's to purchase my cottage cheese (with pineapple!) and nothing else. I was very surprised at myself for giving the amount of attitude that I gave them, which usually would not happen if I weren't tired. I was also slightly annoyed and angry at Anton and Tyrone's insistence that I owed them some kind of favor because I'm black. Maybe I missed the black people meeting, but I don't see how I am in any way obligated to do something for someone else because we have similar amounts of melanin.

Let this be a warning to all reading this: if you are ever approached by 2 black fellows in a truck at 3:15 in the morning in a Fry's parking lot, don't go near them. Be sensible and stop, drop, and roll.

*Some words in the narrative have been changed for the readers' sake.