so this evening, while working on the character bios for reese and seth, i was polling the servers and bar staff for suggestions (because the way it works for me is that i’ll grill people for things like biggest regret or college majors and the like, and when someone says something that makes sense, i run with it. it’s like i recognize it. like i knew it before it was said, but couldn’t say it… or something). and i can get pretty loud. and i won’t care that i’m loud, really, because to be honest, i have two decibels: meek and boisterous. and i was happy. so i was boisterous. and oblivious to how that happiness might have made other patrons unhappy. no. not oblivious. i didn’t care. and i should’ve.
the booth behind me was crowded with a number of overweight, poorly-dressed african american women of varying ages.
i’d been polling the servers about their biggest fears. one of them had mentioned the camel spider. i was unfamiliar with such a critter. so i googled it. and one of the pictures i saw was quite disgusting. and i could not help but shriek when i saw it.
i was in the middle of turning my laptop so that the server could see what i’d found when i heard one of the women at my back exclaim, what is wrong with that girl?
now, i’ve never been any good at standing up for myself. ever. but for some reason, i found the courage to turn my attention to these ladies. i glared at them and said, really. and then i turned back around.
and i could hear them muttering amongst themselves. i let it go for a minute or two. but i really wasn’t in the mood for it. so i turned back around and said, maybe yall should wait until you’ve left the restaurant to talk about me behind my back.
and one of them said, no, we’ll do it right here.
i waited a moment. was going to ignore them. but i’m not good at that. so i got up, shoved past them and went outside to sit on the one of the benches. i was gonna wait until they’d left to go back inside. and then i thought, that’s cowardly, and i’d rather have a drink. so i went back inside. and they were still there.
one of the bartenders told me after the women left that one of them had taken out her pepper spray and pointed it in my direction.
all because sometimes boisterous tips over into obnoxious. because, on a rare occasion, i’d raised my voice.
of course, these women went straight to one of the managers before they’d left to complain about their experience.
there are times when i’m at pappadeaux’s that i feel a majority of the staff there tolerates me. but on this occasion, the manager came to me after addressing those women’s concerns to make sure i was alright. she said that she thought i was pretty cool. or something. and she’d seemed proud of me for standing up. the bartenders did what they knew to do, too, to cheer me up.
i was pretty quiet after that.
some people think i’m this really nice chick, that i give so generously. the only i reason i work so hard to be giving is because i keep thinking if i give enough, i’ll be better for it in the end. and at first, when i thought that, i wondered just how giving i needed to be. and then it occurred to me that those people at that restaurant, the staff there, they had my back. maybe not in the moment, because i’m sure there’re limits to what they can do (though the manager said that if i’d come to her the moment the incident began she would’ve handled it), but after… they kept me from crumpling. and that’s a pretty good return.
so tomorrow… i will try to be better. to be more deserving of their compassion for me.