After I was out with dog, I began walking thither. Happilly, my dog barked as my spectre diminished, (which is a good thing, because crazy bald man downstairs has been so loud, shout-talking and complaining on the phone, so you could hear him clearly in my living room). I had to stand outside the store, adjusting my two masks. No9te that the outer mask is one that my sister made for me, Irish green and covered in little shamrocks.
Went into store. Hunted down a few things. Saw that the $6 Oatmeal Stout was still there - since last year - so I bought it. Stood at deli waiting for service which never arrived. Asked for the large can of tomato juice, which a stock-boy did not find. Then a manager was asked, and conveyed through body language that none was on the shelf. I watched as the two of them now diverged into their own separate worlds. So, i asked the manager, "Is it ni storage?" And he responded tersely, "We don't have iT!"
Let me tell you about this guy. He is Italian, and apparently owns the business with another Italian guy who looks like his brother, but is not. The other guy mainly manages another store, which is basically liquor, and which I have boycotted for some time, because of a jerkwad little female cashier. The way gossip spreads in this town, I am sure she has yapped to the owners about me, especially going way back to when I managed to have the Nethers "evicted" from this building. This eviction could not have happened if I had not followed N-Guy to the store, and insisted that he stops slamming doors, etc., for which I received a little punch to the neck. Great! it was all I needed to start the ball rolling.
But that incident necessitating me going into the store to ask someone to call the police, since my only witness had sped off in her car. The guy I talked to was said Italiano, along with two cashiers, one of whom, I think, was the jerkwad girl. No better way to spread rumour here. So, ever since then, the Italiano has been diffident towards me. And, of course, jerkwad girl made my life difficult by setting people against me, including a bus driver, who was so jackass that I boycott the bus company as well. This town is so insistent on the status quo dysfunction, and cannot possibly imagine that a serious ill male was attacked for years in his own home, (and had a right to stop it all), especially if he is a white male.
Me, I never play the white male privilege card. For one thing, there is virtually none of it to be played here. For another, I cannot be said to be living any kind of privileged life. But this Italiano, he was on the fence towards me and so, through no intention of my own, I guess that card was played today, since we are both white males. But, quite frankly, everyone deserves fairness and respect.
Aside: I once was walking towards the store and came upon a kerfuffle right outside. A black guy was yelling at, and physically assaulting, a white guy, apparently about money. (The attacker might even have been A-hole Guy, whom I was not aware of at that time). It was disgusting how the white guy didn't fight back. I think said Italiano was outside watching, or else he came out right then. The owner of the store - he just stood, watching. Didn't try to stop it, or anything. Then he went back inside the store. I don't know if he called the police, which the least he should have done, but I never noticed any police showing up. Outside, I decided not to be my true self, who would have intervened. If the actual owner will do nothing, then why should I bother, because I HAVE CFS, and am almost never well.
Today: I went to check out my goods, and Italiano steps to my window, and says something fair. I see his Cubs shirt, put 2 and 2 together, and ask, "Are you from Chicago?" He says yes. My semi-autistic brain pauses to incorporate the new information, so he says, "Are you from Chicago?"
"Well... Rockford, Philadelphia, Australia..." And he like, "Oh, yeah?"
"My parents were from Ireland."
"What's that?" (trying to decipher the muffled mask language).
"My parents were from Ireland," tapping my Irish mask to indicate.
"Oh, Irish, aye..."...
So, he started putting on a Chicago accent, and being really nice. In fact, he was so nice that, I believe, because he made an error with the LINK card, he just gave me all my stuff for free, including the beer. "Just let it slide."
So, how about that?
I went to a Catholic high school which was mainly filled with Irish and Italian-derived Americans, and several Poles, a few Hispanics, etc. So, I know about the taste of Chicago, so to speak. There is a fairness that such Catholics hope and strive for, along with a stubbornness or toughness. When they see good deeds done, or suffering or unfairness, they are usually motivated to alleviate it. That is why catholic social justice activism, even extending through now-atheists, is such a big thing. We have been stupidly convinced that SOMEBODY said the world is fair - or should be. If that's the white male privilege card, so be it. I didn't ask for any of this.
But - first yous gots to SEE the unfairness, especially if it comes from yourself. In this town, people are insistent on NOT seeing things - on making judgements about strangers right-off, unless they sucker up to you. This town began as largely Scots, but soon became German, and black. The latter is not a copacetic arrangement. On the other hand, towns run by Catholics, especially Irish, (Democrats), tend to ultimately undo themselves. The Germans are all about segregation, generally speaking, although no one would dare to say this. Look at the Dutch in South Africa. But, a fig leaf / olive branch to you Germanics: No one does racism like China.
I believe Mr. Italiano has long been put under duress by this mean and stupid neighbourhood, which comprts to the idea I have always had about him, and this is why he gets testy, like most people surrounding him. The locals are all too willing to make assumptions before ever knowing someone's life story or situation. But a Chicago Italian who shares, "Catholic guilt," with the Chicago Irish, still holds out the hope that people are good or worthwhile, especially if they prove themselves to be, not only of the same background, but someone who has travelled the world - someone SO outside of the local mileau that what he says or thinks JUST maybe have some relevance beyond the aggravating gossip, dysfunction and meanness.
Here, it is incumbent upon you that YOU step out and shout about what you are worth, or else you will be ridiculed and taken for granted. You must prove you are bad-ass, or else, it is common knowledge that you are not. I don't operate that way. I hit when I need to, and never before. In addition, I have CFS, which really demands that I conserve my energies. Mr. Italiano, who is respectable for the fact that he also started two stores, apparently, was able to keep his mind open that there was the possibility that someone is morally or credentially bad-ass, even if they don't go around shouting about it. This is the cosmopolitan attitude. I was demure in never mentioning that I was also from Madison. In Madison, anyone you meet - even a burger-flipper - might be a professor. In NYC, you never know what the next person, (necessarilly at a party), might be into, artwise or moneywise. And, in Christianity, the rule is to never discount the potential of another's worth, even if the only reason that counts is because it might get you into heaven. These are the civilising sentiments, that, if executed in reality, reduce the prominence of assholery, and increase the chances of cooperation, peace and learning in societies.
On the other hand, if you are on your own, out on a farm, and people encroach suspiciously, it might be because they want to take your stuff, and so it would be good to have weapons on hand, to keep out the input, because it might be BAD. The conservative, non-urban view.
There is a problem in assuming that all people are good. In fact, all people are whatever you want to call them - but they are good or bad in so far as how they affect your property, rights, beliefs or intentions. It turns out that good Catholic Italians and Irish were inclined to believe the liberal mantra that all people are good, but they consequently had to resort to building up mafioso and mobs to protect their realms, because humans are nothing if not opportunists. Social progress depends on how much people entertain the possibility that ANOTHER'S opportunism might be relevant to their own.
I have been in this town for 7 years. People never came out of the woodwork to welcome me, befriend me, assist me, talk with me, learn from me, and so on. HOW - HOW could a white male living in poverty have ANY kind of relevance to anyone? If he, yes, reaches out and smiles and greets and initiates conversation, (despite being ill), then of course he must be a discountable idiot - just like that Jesus Christ guy, right? If he speaks up, then tear him down as we would a statue of Jefferson, Washington, etc. So, no one went out of their way to learn from me, which is fine, because I am disabled.
But, what could they have learnt - that Mr. Italiano dared to learn? What possibly of my life could mean anything? I have been studying people all my life. A triple major from one of the top-10 public schools in the country. Someone who has travelled, studied, written, cared, loved, lost, given, known, seen - what could this possibly have anything to do with anything? We want ours NOW. We dismiss your white male privilege in favour of destruction and dreams given us by well-funded opportunists. Because, not of the content of your character, but because of the colour of your skin.
I have seen Mr. Italiano sway about like a reed in the wind. How unfair that he gave me my stuff for free. How absurd that we think we know anything when we are only a millisecond reprieve from never-ending dust. How ridiculous that beings should sprout from dirt, in the instant of a lightning flash, and only curse and kill and love itself, gone again like the wind, in a universe of eternal violence. What is good? Why should we strive? I just wanted some tomato paste.