I mentioned before that I sometimes have serious identity issues when I’m in public areas with other black people. Because of who I am, how I was raised and my ethnic background, I don’t really consider myself a black person. Not like a black person because my skin is black (actually, it’s brown) but when I say black, I mean, like black American people. I don’t consider myself in that fashion for many reasons. A co-worker of mine said he didn’t see me as a black person either. He said I was international, and I kind of like that. If I had to have a label, I guess I’ll go with international. I damn sure don’t want to be called African-American, or any other hyphenated anything. I’d like to just be called American, but whatever. I’m not here to talk about all that. I’m here to talk about why I wish I sometimes wish I was anything other than brown-skinned when in public with other brown-skinned folks.
So, Friday afternoon, the kid and I decide to take a stroll through the new neighbourhood. About two blocks away is a quaint little street with mom and pop shops, so we headed over there and found a Middle Eastern cafe-slash-pizza parlour. We stopped in to order some slices and there we were, enjoying a pizza with halal meat and it was nice and cosy. There were other patrons in the restaurant and it was all nice–until two black women and two black children came into the restaurant.
Now, this is not a large place. There are about four tables total in the place. It looks like a carry-out (I guess it is, actually). My point is that it’s not some huge ass restaurant with a bustling crew that you have to shout to be heard because there’s so much background noise.
First black woman in EXTREMELY loud voice: What kinda milkshake ya’ll want?
Small black kid in SCREAMING loud outdoor voice: OOOH, THEY GOT COOKIES’N’CREAM!!
First black woman still in super loud voice: They got … uhm… cookies’n’cream, mango, pineapple, peanut butter….
She proceeds to read the entire list of the milkshakes (there are about 15-20 flavours) in this voice that is unnaturally loud, almost deafening, like she is conducting an auction on an airplane tarmac with 747s taking off above her head and some battleships in the background practising gun rounds–oh, and a marching band is out there too. That’s how loud she’s talking. The other patrons are staring at her like, “Shut the fuck up!” The cashier guy is trying to get her attention, but since she’s pretty much screaming, she can’t hear him as he politely says, “Ma’am, you should try the peanut butter, it’s our best flavour.” The only reason I heard him is because I was standing right next to him getting some napkins.
Both kids: COOKIES’N’CREAM… COOKIES’N’CREAM. I want cookies’n’cream. Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM!!! MOM!!!! I want cookies’n’cream. MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!
Both the kids are dancing around the woman, grabbing on her clothes and screaming at the top of their lungs. The kids are approximately 8 and 5 years old. Too old to be acting like assholes. There was a deaf kid already in the restaurant with his father. (I know he’s deaf because he makes deaf people sounds and they were speaking to each other in sign language.) Perhaps the kid had partial hearing, or what, but he was staring at the two boys like they were lunatics. They were making so much noise that even the damn deaf kid wanted them to shut the hell up.
Second black lady, also in ridiculously loud voice: I HEARD YOU. YA’LL BE QUIET. BE QUIET. LEMME LOOK AT THE LIST.
Her voice was louder than the first woman and the two kid’s combined.
Second black lady: Do y’all have cookies’n’cream?
Forget about the fact that when the first woman started reading the menu, she said cookies’n’cream because it’s the first flavour on the menu. I’m sorry, she must not have been shouting loud enough to be heard.
First black lady: Y’all finna share dees, cuz I ain’t finna buy no two milkshakes. [still shouting]
Kids: NO, WE DON’T WANT TO SHARE. No, mom! Mom. Mom. Mom!!! MOM!! MOM! MOM!! MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Erique is staring at me like… oh my God and I’m trying to eat without standing up and screaming, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” cuz you know I will and then be just as ghetto as they were. *sighs*
They order their milkshakes and then for a few minutes while they are waiting for the milkshakes to be done, they are kind of quiet and the restaurant is somewhat normal. Then the milkshakes are finished and the man calls their numer. First black lady gets up to get the milkshakes. The kids are about a foot and a half from her and she SHOUTS… I can’t even describe how loud her voice was. I wish I could voice record for you because she was even louder than when she first came into the restaurant and it was so loud that it was almost hilarious, if it wasn’t so goddamn disturbing. She actually startled me. The pizza was hot and I was trying to get it in my mouth without spilling hot ass cheese all over my face and then she starts shouting.
First black lady: HERE Y’ALL GO!!! GET THESE HERE MILKSHAKES CUZ I AIN’T FINNA MAKE NO DINNER!!!
I thought they were going to leave once they got their milkshakes, but they didn’t. They sat down and proceeded to have a loud, super hysterical conversation. Then to make it even more ghetto.
Second black lady: EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!!!
I couldn’t figure out who she was talking to. She was screaming at the cashier guy who had gone away from the counter to restock the little soda refrigerators.
The man turns around. “Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?’
Second black lady: Y’ALL AIN’T GOT NO AIR CONDITION UP IN HERE. IT’S HOT!!!!!!!!!!!
There was no air conditioning inside the restaurant. Like I said, the place is a carry-out. I don’t think they really intend for people to sit down and have a fine dining experience. It was hot in the place. In fact, even though it was scorching hot on Friday afternoon, it was actually cooler outside. I understand it was hot, but if they didn’t have the air conditioning on that entire day, what makes you think that suddenly they’re going to have some air conditioner? Just for you.
The man smiles and shakes his head. I thought he was extremely polite and nice. He did not get annoyed once at all that carrying on. I would have been like, “Get the hell out my restaurant,” which of course, would explain why I don’t own anything.
First black lady: IT’S NO AIR CONDITION IN HERE? IT’S HOT. IT’S HOT. I’M MELTING. I’M FINNA DIE.
So I’m thinking, well, all you guys ordered was milkshakes, why don’t you leave and go home where you have “air condition” (as opposed to air conditioning) so you can stop damn complaining in that loud ass voice of yours.
Meanwhile, the oldest kid had jumped up onto the window ledging and was perched over my table where Erique and I are eating. He is staring down at us while we eat. I swear, any second he was going to ask for a slice of pizza. Look, you guys know how I feel about unruly children. I do not hesitate to discipline children I find to be out of control. I’ll never put my hands on another person’s child but I will tell them about themselves. If you don’t like that, control your kids.
So he is there dangling over our food, just staring at the plate. Since none of the kids appears to be abused or malnourished in anyway, I’m going to assume that they do eat and he is not staring at us because he’s been starved for the past three days. No, he was staring at us because he is an ill-mannered little brat. I kept waiting for the two women to call him back over there and when they didn’t, I said, “Can I help you with something?”
Do you mind? More staring.
Excuse me, we are trying to enjoy our dinner. More staring.
He just stared at me then back at the pizza, and Erique was like, “Can you please go away?” The kid is nearly sitting at the table with us just staring. At this point, I had this sudden wish that it was legal to beat other people’s children. When he made no move, I said, “Go back over to your trashy mother and stare at her, because nobody wants you over here.” He looked shocked that I said that and then he got up and ran off.
Usually, I brace myself for a confrontation because kids usually tell their parents what I said to them and then some ghetto mammy comes over and tries to “tell me about myself” and then I have to remind her that she and her family are a cancer on the ballsack of America. But the kid didn’t say anything, but he didn’t stare at us anymore.
I know a lot of parents are like, “Oh my God… oh my God, if she had said that to my child….” Everybody gets all upset, but then if you have rude, unruly children, why do you defend their behaviour and then get upset if someone tries to correct it? If you taught your children properly, somebody like me wouldn’t have to speak to them at all. But I guess I’m just crazy.
Anyway, really, this could have been any race of people. It’s not to say that all black people are despicable in public, but there is an awful large percentage of black people who, when in groups, talk unnecessarily loud like they’re inside a wind tunnel next to some jet engines and a set of full-on club speakers blaring booty bass. It’s annoying and excessive, and when I see that I want to sink into the floorboards so that people don’t associate us together.
I was in Wal-Mart one time and there were three black women in the line in front of me, carrying on a ridiculously loud conversation even though they were standing right next to each other. They start to make their purchases and the cashier asks me if I’m with them. Hell, no, I’m not.
We don’t all know each other and we don’t all stand around screaming and laughing like lunatics.