Saturday, September 18, 2010
mama said there'd be days like this
The head pharmacist, whom I will call Sarah (haven't you always wondered what name you would give someone when you wanted to an identity?) has been telling me for months that she wants to have a PC show. She has told me to keep calling her about it because she is so busy that she just can't keep it at the top of her list. So I call her. Yesterday she told me that she had gotten my messages but hadn't been able to call me back because she'd been out of town. New York.
Oh! I say. Business or pleasure?
Business. Her husband's business. It turns out he was there to be honored for his role during 9/11 recovery efforts.
Wonderful, I say. She tells me more, and then says, "just don't ask him about the mosque." I am cringing inside. I say nothing. She goes on. A rant begins to form. The words "this is MY country!" issue forth. It's "their" country, too. "THEY didn't lose loved ones." Ah, but "they" did. I continue my silence. Build the mosque anywhere else but there. I continue my silence. And then.
"I can tell by your face. You think they should put the mosque there." I reply, honestly, "it doesn't matter to me where it's built, but I don't have a problem with it being there." She takes that in, but continues her rant. I really hate this. I don't remember what it was she said that made me, finally, open my mouth. I don't regret the first things I said, but then I offered, "Timothy McVeigh was a Christian." The rage that came across her face was unmistakable. She said nothing in response, and was perhaps glad that she was alerted to a customer at the end of the counter. She moved away.
The tech, who stood by throughout the whole thing, resumed a conversation that we had begun earlier. She didn't betray any discomfort, but it sure seemed like she was making an attempt to save me from self-recrimination. Thank you, God, for Jennifer.
I came home with a heavy heart. I should know better. It isn't that the things I said can't be said, but it was clear that this was a very sore subject with Sarah, whom I consider a friend. I thought about calling and leaving a message on her phone to apologize for upsetting her. I considered, in the end, to let it go, with the hope that we'll just move past it and carry on.
Locally, a group opposed to the construction of an Islamic cultural center has filed a lawsuit against the mayor, county commission and planning commission to stop construction. Apparently there's a temporary injunction in place. Sheesh.
How did we get here?