In me

White Guilt

Posted by: on Dec 22, 2006 | No Comments

I somehow got suckered into making dinner tonight for my parents, which actually turned out quite well — shrimp burritos with chipotle adobo and seasoned rice — but that wasn’t the highlight of the evening.

Earlier I trotted off to Publix for ingredients. It’s the grocery store which usually has the slightly better merchandise, but of course lacks the charming name of say a “Piggly Wiggly” or the obviousness of a “Bi-Lo.” It was an irritating experience, but I blame myself, because obviously the Mexican specialties are next to the brownie mix, cooking oil and Folger’s. I mean, um, duh!

So, anyway, I’ve got my stuff and head for checkout. The nice girl is scanning through the various merchanise then picks up a bag and with a thick southern drawl asks “Hehe. Can ya, uh, teller me what’ha got he’re?” (Scout’s honor, I’m not embellishing)

“It’s a habanero pepper,” I say. “They’re used to abort Christian babies.” (perhaps I made that last part up)

Simple enough.

I’m all finished and the bag boy, a nice 15ish black guy lacking at least 3 inches and 50 lbs on me, says “Can I carry these out to your car for you?”

I’m used to this question. It’s a stable of the lowly paid bagger contingent in grocery stores these days — those in SF are required to ask even if entirely unnecessary. It’s actually nice, and I see some use this courtesy who would probably struggle otherwise. But I’m at least 30 years this side of osteoporosis.

“Ah, naw, that’s okay,” I say, “it’s only 3 bags. Thanks!”

“Eh, I got to. I need to look busy,” bag-boy retorts keeping a firm grip on my bags.

Long pause. I’m in the South, I’m a healthy guy, I can carry 3 bags… but he insists. Christ.

“Um, okay, knock yourself out.”

So, there we are, walking out to the car, bag-boy having a light load and getting needlessly wet in the pouring rain.

And in toe of whitey doing his bidding. It just feels terribly wrong.

I turn around and snark, “You’ve got 3 bags and I’ve got 3 hundred years of guilt. I really should of just carried those bags myself.”

Bags safely in the trunk, he says “You have a nice day sir.”

“You too,” I say.

I’m quite sure he’s long forgot about it. Why haven’t I?