The “Invisible” Woman

I’m currently paying my bills by working as a baker in a chain grocery store. Yesterday was an unsavory day.

There were only three of us working, and as it was the Friday before Thanksgiving the place was packed with shoppers. We were baking, packaging, filling the floor, waiting on customers, dreading the massive delivery we would get on the receiving dock, not to mention trying to get things in shape so when Big-Daddy-Higher-Than-District-Manager made his appearance that evening, the department would be ready for critique.

So here I was scrambling to wait on the customers. We have a long glass goodie-filled counter stretching all the way across the front of the bakery, and a narrow workspace behind that with a half-wall separating that front section from the rest of the baking area. There’s a price scale on top of the front counter and another price scale on a small table in the narrow area, as well. Racks of baked bread and products yet to bake clogged the baking area. My other two co-workers were elsewhere, one trying to unload our supplies out in receiving and the other one over on the other side of the store taking a much-deserved break after a morning of struggle.

After serving the third customer in a row, I glanced over and saw the top of a little Asian girl’s head over the top of the counter, so I asked if I could help her. She asked for a kid’s cookie, so I got it for her. As I gave it to her I noticed there was a black woman next to her, standing in front of the scale area. She was the same height as the scale and I had not seen her earlier, and asked if I could help.

She said, “Well, you just proved to me that you think I’m invisible. I’ve been standing here waiting to be helped, but you decided to help this girl first. I’m even bigger than her but you didn’t wait on me, you waited on her because I’m a black woman and you’re racist.” With that she tossed her head and marched away, a triumphant smile on her lips as I sputtered to reply.

I’m… what? This woman knows nothing about me. She also apparently doesn’t realize the black race is not the only race that has ever experienced racism. She wasn’t there at my grade school when the pint-sized class bigot followed me all over the playground chanting “Half-breed, you’re a dirty half-breed” while the rest of the class looked on, and the teacher later defended my tormentor when I tearfully told her about it. The white race back then didn’t seem like me because I am part Muskogee Creek. The Creeks considered me a lightblood from an ordinary family clan, tainted with the white cooties of mixed race. I know about racism and prejudice.

So okay, BITCH, let me tell you something since you didn’t pay any attention to my protest of “I’m sorry, ma’m, I honestly didn’t see you there” and walked away before I could recover further from my shock.

I did not see you, not because you are “invisible” to me, but because YOUR SHORT ASS STOOD RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SCALE. I COULDN’T see you from the angle I worked. In the minutes before I tried to wait on you, I had a number of other demanding customers to wait on. I’m sorry I didn’t call on you next but (a) if I can’t see you I don’t know you’re there so I can’t call on you (b) if you’re that anxious you could have said “I’m next” since you are bold enough to hatefully assume hurried customer service = racism, or (c) she was a kid and it took all of twenty seconds to get her kiddie cookie and send her on her way. But no, it’s much easier to simply play the race card; easier for YOU, that is.

You’ve been in this store before and have launched the same type of “you’re racist” shit at other workers who wouldn’t jump up and down the second you showed up, and didn’t kiss your entitled self-important ass. I recalled where I’ve seen your face before, after you left. A couple of months ago you accused a black co-worker of being prejudiced, which prompted her to mutter “what the hell was HER problem?” to us as you waltzed away, wrapped in the cocoon of your own self-love. She is dark-skinned and you are lighter-skinned – do you not see how ridiculously racist YOU are?

News Flash for you, Invisible Woman: the world is full of different types of people, people who have their own experiences and stories and problems. If you have an experience, you can learn from it. Maybe that can be the story you can relate in an appropriate forum. But if you have a problem, don’t hand it off to a stranger to solve for you. Handle your own problems, starting with your need to grab any opportunity to accuse a stranger of disliking you simply on the strength of the melanin in your skin. All my co-workers are black and I think the world of them; they are each funny and endearing and smart and talented, so color isn’t what I dislike about you.

I dislike you because you’re a bitch. A bitch who actively seeks out hurting other peoples’ feelings, who has this need to look for any offense, no matter how great or how slight, so you can feel superior that your “fight for justice” or whatever the hell trip you’re on, is going strong. You’re a grown-ass woman. Not everyone is out to get you, and why you would want to be remembered as a hater instead of simply as a lady out shopping, is entirely YOUR choice. Remember, when you point at someone there are three fingers still pointing back at you.

Damn it, the worst thing you could do for yourself is to piss off a writer. Congratulations.

About jmichaeljones57

I am a writer and an avid fan of goats. The two facts are not mutually exclusive.
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