13 February 2009

Uncomfortable Moment #82


I am putting gas in my car Wednesday evening at a popular (read: cheap) gas station. There are maybe seven of us scattered around the islands. It is breezy but unseasonably warm.

One person has his windows open and his music turned up to 11 while he's pumping. I'm not a big fan of listening to other people's music. I quietly thank heaven it's not Taylor Swift. Really, I figure, how long does it take to pump gas? I'll tell you how long: Long enough to focus in on the lyrics and hear the N word. Repeatedly.

This is uncomfortable. I don't want to hear that word from anybody. Not even set to music. I don't want other people to hear it.

This is a public space.

Nobody says anything. We just keep pumping.

Maybe nobody notices the words but me. Maybe it's no big deal to anyone else. Maybe people are intimidated by the fact that the guy is blaring his music in the first place. I'll never know. All I know is nobody says anything.

Right? Wrong? Gray area?

17 comments:

Narm said...

My neighbors were blaring music with the same tone and when I complained to security that their music was too loud they said I was racist.

Racist? No. Confused? Yes.

Bilbo said...

The same thing has happened to me: if you complain about music like this, you are identified as being racist. I would think it would be offensive to anyone, and it usually is, but apparently only certain people are allowed to complain. I wonder why that is.

Jamie said...

I'm with you on it being annoying as hell, but eh, it's life in the city. Not worth getting into a fight with someone who probably bought that Ford Expedition because it was the only car they can fit in.

Kate said...

I'm so passive aggressive when it comes to things like this. I figure they will just FEEL the look of disdain I'm giving their back.

but they don;t.

Mike said...

When coming in contact with a moron, try to keep the contact time to a minimum and quickly move on.

Wv - retion - Keeping something only for a shorter period of time.

Kate said...

I think, whatever it is blasting out of your speakers, it's rude to leave the volume so high in a public place. The fact that the lyrics might offend people makes it all the more rude. The end.

LiLu said...

That would DEFINITELY have made me super uncomfortable. But that's when you blast some Kelly Clarkson. BATTLE OF THE WRONGS!

LOVE Maxine-isms. She gets me, she really does.

SingLikeSassy said...

LA it's OK to feel uncomfortable. Maybe the other people did, too, but like you weren't sure if they should say something.

I think you shouldn't say anything though cause that could turn dangerous and ugly real quick.

This is off on a tangent, but your story reminded me of it: Once years ago this man followed me out of a gas station store and to my car parked at the pumps yelling the N word at me (I had accidentally bumped into him in the store and though I said excuse me and apologized, he evidently had some pent up frustrations and assumed I was a good target that day).

I pulled out my tire iron and slammed my trunk shut. Then stood there looking at him real calm like. Apparently though I was 4'11" and 117 pounds, I looked like I might be crazier than he was cause he turned around and walked off. Not ONE PERSON -- and there were several who saw and heard this -- did anything. I pumped my gas and drove off.

rs27 said...

I would have faked a stroke

f.B said...

I really like how well you asked this question. Because for me, really answering it in this box feels impossible.

For me, it's not a term of endearment, as so many insist. It's been hurled at me with all the intention of its design. And so I don't find the amusement. It's a symbol of an incredibly disappointing aspect of humanity and, as you say, there's nothing musical about that.

Its nonchalant use is at best a failure of imagination and at worst one of fundamental awareness.

And so I don't know what you could've said to a guy who insists on not caring that he's piercing your environment with the word, though I doubt the reaction would've been that you were racist. It probably would've just been that you "didn't get it." As if all of us do...

Gilahi said...

As the hilarious Ron White so eloquently put it: Ya cain't fix stupid.

Barbara said...

Ii don't want to hear anyone else's music any more than I want to hear his/her cell phone conversation. Some people share both all too freely for my taste.

Herb of DC said...

Sadly I hear "music" like that with offensive lyrics on the streets of DC so much that I barely notice it any more.

lacochran said...

Narm, Bilbo: Perhaps you have the same neighbors?

Jamie: You make a good point.

Kate: But they *should*!

Mike: Makes sense. I will be reading you less.

Kidding.

Kate: And that's that.

LiLu: SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GO-ONE...

SingLikeSassy: 4'11" and 117 pounds with a tire iron trumps any other size person. Sorry you went through that but I'm glad you put a stop to it.

Rs27: Think anyone would have noticed and done anything?

f.B: Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Gilahi: Seems like the Department of Education would disagree.

Barbara: I agree.

Her of DC: That *is* sad.

emma said...

I hate those situations! You are completely justified if you choose to speak up and say something. It is rude and offensive. Just know that 9 times out of 10, the person will not change his or her behaviour and may get aggressively defensive. I don't know about you but I'm a wimp. I'd rather just pump half a tank and go someplace else to fill it up.

Erin said...

How old was this person?

This reminds me of when I was 16 and always made sure that a cool song was thumping when I pulled up to a stoplight. Generally, I was rocking the George Michael, because I was that kind of rebel.

I'm guessing this person was enjoying the impression he (?) was creating for those around him, since he was 16 years old, either in age or maturity.

Sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable. At least it wasn't Wham Rap '88.

lacochran said...

Emma: Thanks for weighing in.

Erin: He may have been 16 or at most early 20s, I'd say. George Michael, rocking? Huh.