Saturday, September 18, 2010

mama said there'd be days like this

I was at the grocery store yesterday, and stopped by the pharmacy to say hello to "my girls." I have gotten to know the head of the pharmacy and the woman who generally works with her, and if they aren't totally swamped (which is usually) we have a few minutes to talk. It's a bright spot in my shopping adventure.

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?


Jayne said...

I don't know how we got here, but it's been sad to witness hasn't it? Someone on Fb posted a clip of Colin Powell on The View which I thought was wonderful. Google it and watch. We seem to have lost the ability to get past our fear and be reasonable, loving human beings. I hate that you had to stand there and hear that and be honest in your convictions to someone who obviously can't hear anything else but the fear. I fear this will only be ramped up as the election season gets nearer. Love your neighbor indeed...

Sharon said...

I don't guess it would help to say that she was inappropriate to go down that road as far as she did. A friend she may be, but it was a business situation, and what she did was neither friendly nor professional. I doubt if you would have let that happen, much less led the charge, in church or at a PC party.

HUGS for things said, and things left unsaid, and things we don't know how to say perfectly.

How did we get here? I shake my head, too. If you figure it out, even a little bit, please do blog about it. I will be listening.

Mrs. M said...

Situations like that are so difficult. Sharon was exactly right-- Sarah was inappropriate to start with, and since she noted your silent disagreement, clearly didn't care about your opinion (which makes the rant that much more upsetting).

I hate being in that position, and I'm sorry you were.

Mompriest said...

The fear that resides in people in this country just astonishes me. A fear that finds residence, a place to live, in outright distortios of reality. So we've gone from slaves and black people to communists and the cold war to muslims and 9/11...not to menton the salem witch hunts and other fears we've had in this country... Do people in this country claim their identity more by what they are afraid of and "oppose" than in what they really believe in? It just seems that if people really learned about what they are afraid of they would have different perspective. sigh...sad.

that said, maybe it's just all the same fear - you aren't like "me" so I am afraid of you. I don't know....

Kip said...

Fear. That's all I can think of when these people rage as it certainly isn't common sense. It's a cultural center to begin with, it's not ON the sacred ground but two blocks away but that doesn't seem to make a difference to them. Truthfully, maybe if I lost someone there,I would feel different but I doubt it. It really does scare me though that so many people have this attitude. Sorry you got thrown into it though with her.

Carolina Linthead said...

Honestly, I am struggling with where our country, perhaps our world, is going. I am amazed at how angry people are, and I assume they are angry because they are afraid, and, frankly, because fear-mongers are constantly ramping up that fear for their own purposes. And its not just of terror attacks...people are afraid that the world they thought they lived in, the one they thought they were raising their children in, is falling apart. As historian James O. Horton famously said of white southerners during the time of Nat Turner's Revolt, "white people were more afraid, and when people get more afraid, they get more violent." Heaven help us.

Amy said...

I know I've been absent for some time but in catching up, this post really touched me. Your commenters nailed it - FEAR. What is the opposite emotion to love - FEAR of course. It's so sad that we cannot carry on civilized discussions on important issues anymore. Where is common sense in all of this? Thanks for expressing what many of us are feeling.

Mary Beth said...

And when people are afraid? They look for a scapegoat.

It hurts.


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