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Busy day at work today.  Gods help us all, the Greeks are back in town (full disclosure:  I was in not one, but two sororities in college--long story--but these were local, unaffliated one-offs at a rural Methodist college the size a postage stamp.  Very, VERY different scene).  We had a full staff today (!!!!), so it was hectic, but at least I wasn't the only cashier.

Things settled down, and it was just me and Unfortunately Named New Hire (she asked why everyone acts a little weird/startled/shellshocked when she introduces herself, so she was given a Cliffs Notes version of working with The Bully. She picked a nickname to go by instead.  I'm actually rather digging the whole nickname thing FoH.  It's a cozy, teambuilding thing and...Jeebus Hopscotching Cadillac, did I just use that word!?!?).  She took a register and here comes the reek of old money in a bow tie (their desendants reek of AXE body spray, but that's another story).  I'm trying to wrangle a family of six kids, two clearly exhausted parents, and two (two!!!!) sets of grandparents taking the first family member to college and walk them through the menu, but I'm keeping an ear out to see if my coworker has any trouble.

She's flawless.  Charming.  Does everything so perfectly I want to weep with relief.  I may actually get to go to the bathroom more than once a shift now!  Then she hands him his credit card slip and says "Can you sign this, please?"

[We all say that.  There are variations, of course.  My favorite is when the parent goes to the bathroom and I present a flummoxed teen with the slip and say "Would you please forge your parent's signature for me?"]

Bow tie says "Well, that depends.  By asking me if I can, you are asking me if I am able to write.  I am.  Will I?  Of course."

She looks embarrassed and mumbles.  He laughs--LAUGHS!--and says "I'm sorry, sugar.  I don't know why I'm being such an asshole today.  But, you know..language is important."

I CANNOT just say "excuse me"  and walk away from my family (though, in retrospect, I should have just said "Pardon me, I'll take the rest of your order at your table while you enjoy your drinks. Have some cookies and chips on the house while you wait."  (And I beat the shit out of an old guy in a bowtie)

When I was able to get away and check in on her, she just shrugged and said, "It's no big thing.  But have you ever noticed it's always the guys in bowties?  They ought to be outlawed.  I think they're too tight, so the blood doesn't go to the brain or their johnson.  It all goes  straight to the asshole."

We laughed.  But I could see her hurt.

She's a younger WOC.  And he felt like it was okay to talk to her like that.

He probably would have done the same thing to me, given his lofty perch.  But I have age and my skin on my side, and could have smarted back.  This being The South, he might have seen it as me being sassy and laughed (and probably made a lewd comment.  But, again, that's another story).

Even in the class trenches, I still have privilege.  And that is a sick, disgusting thing.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
hazelnutdarling
Aug. 19th, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)

I'm glad you've found relief in a competent trainee. I'm so curious, what is her name?

mac_arthur_park
Aug. 19th, 2016 12:29 am (UTC)
Jaleesia. Rhymes with Alicia (my name). When The Bully was working there, BB would call me by her name from time to time. I understood that. Mom used to call my sister by the dog's name (Steffie and Sheltzie).

She's decided she likes Lisa. Which means our names will still get bungled together, but it's not THAT NAME.
fbhjr
Aug. 19th, 2016 12:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, sorry you have to deal with folks like that.
michikatinski
Aug. 19th, 2016 12:43 am (UTC)
Awww... :( That sucks. A ton.

I might have ripped the bowtie off that guy. Or shot a spitball at him when no one was looking.
mac_arthur_park
Aug. 19th, 2016 12:56 am (UTC)
If I could have, I would have.

The family I had was from the hollers, and I was smacked in the face with my own issues of coming from a poor white trash family. I wanted them to have the best experience possible while they were giving their scion off to a place that is new and scary.

It was a difficult situation. I don't know if I handled it right or not.

I have a feeling I'll have many more opportunities to figure it out in the next couple of days.

If you would ask Thea to grant me grace for the next couple of days, I would appreciate it.
(no subject) - michikatinski - Aug. 19th, 2016 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arielstarshadow - Aug. 19th, 2016 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elainegrey - Aug. 19th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - michikatinski - Aug. 19th, 2016 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mac_arthur_park - Aug. 20th, 2016 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - michikatinski - Aug. 20th, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
mamculuna
Aug. 19th, 2016 01:22 am (UTC)
I wish so much that she had said quietly, "Well, I wasn't sure if you could and I didn't want to embarrass you..."
circumspectly
Aug. 19th, 2016 03:48 am (UTC)
YES, YES, YES!!!
(no subject) - mac_arthur_park - Aug. 20th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mamculuna - Aug. 20th, 2016 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
qwentoozla
Aug. 19th, 2016 01:36 am (UTC)
Oh my God, dude, everyone uses "can" like that, it's normal. It's just ALWAYS an asshole move to correct someone like that!

I'm glad the new employee is good, that must be a relief. :)
circumspectly
Aug. 19th, 2016 03:48 am (UTC)
You win for the Tim Minchin pic. <3 <3 <3
(no subject) - qwentoozla - Aug. 19th, 2016 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
notodette
Aug. 19th, 2016 02:01 am (UTC)
Fucking bow tie white people for real. ffffffuuuuu. Language is important. You know what else is important? Not belittling people to feel better than them and make them know you feel that way.
ms_hecubus
Aug. 19th, 2016 02:20 am (UTC)
Language exists for the sole purpose of communication. She could have grunted while pushing the slip and pen at him, and he still would have understood. Fuck him.
seaivy
Aug. 19th, 2016 03:20 am (UTC)
not nice for your co-worker
but in a college town you can expect something like that
the bow tie was a clue
he probably thought he was being "grandfatherly" and clever
and being southern probably added to it
mac_arthur_park
Aug. 20th, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah. We get those all the time. I just shrug it off, but I have that privilege. It stings, it hurts...but its still not as bad for me.
crys79
Aug. 19th, 2016 04:36 am (UTC)

I think of my privilege a lot. It sucks, though, to be so aware of something when so many others either ignore it or just don't pay attention.

mac_arthur_park
Aug. 20th, 2016 01:46 pm (UTC)
I trip over mine every day. I generally think of myself as a good person, but since I've been trying to be mindful of my privilege...wow, there's so much stuff I never even thought of.

I told Lisa we're going to get a lot of bowties today (it's UNC Move In Day. We'll get families who have gone here for a bazillion generations. And the genteel Old South money and racism REEKS in these people) and she could just send them to me. She grinned and said "Oh, I've got this. You just take care of the frat boys."

I like her, but that was kind of evil. ;)
jaelle_n_gilla
Aug. 19th, 2016 03:03 pm (UTC)
I HATE when people talk like that to waiters or waitresses. My father does it all the time. Making "little jokes" knowing full well that the other can't just say "jerk" and turn away. They *have* to be friendly. And over here it has nothing to do with white privilege. Most of our waiters are white and they can't retort or get away either...

Personally, since I am an older semester by now, if people do that to me I give them my best "yeah right, asshole" smile and hope everyone around notices that I think they are jerks and I couldn't care less what they think. A friend of mine also does the language nitpicking and all he gets from me when he corrects me is a "yeah, that, too".

Glad your coworker is doing ok and you get some real help now.
llblckraincloud
Aug. 19th, 2016 03:35 pm (UTC)
I've been on the receiving end of that. Especially from older guys. They think they're being cute and clever, educating me. I'm sure it's also sexism and the assumption that people who work service jobs are less educated in general. Cause you know, that's the only reason, otherwise we'd have "real" jobs. /sarcasm.

And yes, they do seem to always wear bowties.
poniesandphotos
Aug. 19th, 2016 06:31 pm (UTC)
There is a difference between "gentle joke with people who are serving you at work" and "being an asshole to someone who can't defend themselves because they are at work". That dude needs to learn the difference.
weebleswobble
Aug. 21st, 2016 07:11 pm (UTC)
instruction in the proper use of the word 'can you' vs 'will you' (or can i vs may i) takes me back to elementary school. i think it was first grade.

the teacher was a jerk about that, always turning "can i go to the bathroom?" into a freaking *teaching moment* rather than just allowing the poor little kid to get up and go.
wowomom
Aug. 25th, 2016 02:32 am (UTC)
I was in the 3rd grade the first time a teacher pulled "I don't know, CAN you go to the bathroom?" on me. I was quite confused, I stood there for a moment thinking, and then I said, "Yes I can." and started walking out of the room. My teacher was apparently not prepared for that reaction and he had to call me back to explain. LOL!
wherdafux_d_cat
Aug. 23rd, 2016 02:10 am (UTC)
Argh. I would have loved to have been there and helped retie his bow tie. Really, really tightly. 'Can' has been acceptable as an informal request for over a hundred years and assholic pedantry like that makes me nuts. Especially when it's done in that smug, condescending way this guy did. Good on her for not 'accidentally' giving him a lobotomy with the pen.
wherdafux_d_cat
Aug. 23rd, 2016 02:11 am (UTC)
annelaure
Aug. 25th, 2016 09:51 pm (UTC)
Show off... lame too !
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )