Recently two events have been making me think about words and how they can cut a nd make us bleed
Ben and I were walking along one of the shady streets of our neighborhood. Just the two of us, on our way from the bagel store to music class. A sweet little old lady stopped us, as they sometimes do - complementing me on "Such a sweet boy!" she said, "And that hair, so blonde. You don't see much of that around here anymore."
I was sort of stunned, and went walking on my way again.
Today it happened again. An elderly man stopped us, on our way to camp this morning. Claire was with us this time. He started off "Can I have him?" but then went off into racist nonsense as well. "What a strong boy. And his coloring! That hair! There aren't too many like him around here anymore. No, not at all."
We live in Jackson Heights. According to Wikipedia, " It was a planned development laid out by Edward A. MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation beginning about 1916, and following the arrival of the No. 7 elevated line between Manhattan and Flushing. The community was initially planned as a place for middle- to upper-middle income workers from Manhattan to raise their families"
Nowadays, it is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city, if not the country. Wikipedia notes South Americans (Ecuadorians and Colombians in particular) South Asians and East Asians, but I can vouch for Spanish, Polish, Serbian, and many many mixed families here as well.
It makes me wonder what other things lurk beneath the surface.
There was another event, which in the face of these two seems trivial. But I was walking along, some time after we met the gentleman mentioned above. We ran into a woman I used to be aquantainced with from a Weight Watchers meeting I went to. Haven't seen her in years, although I think I'd been to a meeting post-Ben. Anyhow, we were catching up in that vague way you do, and she said "I can hardly keep up - working on number three already?"
Now that was just random. Sure I'm no skinny thing, and I was wearing an empire waist top, but you just don't say that sort of thing. (Dave thinks as upset as I was, I sort of had it coming - he thinks that empire waisted clothing makes anyone look pregnant.)