"So how does it feel being in the minority? I mean, being the only white guy in town?"
I hadn't even thought of it until Mark asked that question. It was the third day of the family reunion and we were sitting in the car waiting for the rest of Mark's family to show up. We were all going to breakfast Sunday morning at The Corner Grill. In fact I hadn't even noticed that College Park, Georgia was a black town. Every time we walked into a place of business I didn't scan the room looking for other white guys. I guess I just assumed... I don't know what I assumed, but my comfort level was very high. To me it felt like a completely integrated community, equal white people and black people. It just so happened, I thought, that most of the white people didn't go out as much. The fact is, that College Park is only nine percent white. It is a very black town, yet to me it looked and felt like Mayberry (White). If you were looking for stereotypes, the only one you would have found over the weekend was me. A stereotypical old white, gay guy from Florida. I must have stood out like a sore thumb. But here is the answer to Mark's question. In my eyes, I didn't stand out like a sore thumb, because I wasn't looking at myself. In my eyes, nothing looked out of order to my sensibilities because for most of the day and night at home, the only face I see is a black man's face. In fact the only white guy I usually see all day long, is my face in the mirror and I don't look at that guy too much. I could live in College Park, it's a beautiful little town. Mark had even arranged for us to go with his nephew who is a real estate agent, to look at a couple of homes in town. I fell in love with a gorgeous old home we looked at in the historic section of town. Too bad it isn't in Chicago.
By the way, as we were sitting there in the car waiting for Mark's family to show up, the phone rang. It was his sister Rhea. Here is the conversation I heard from Mark's end.
"What do you mean you're just leaving? You're just now leaving to come here?
Well hurry up, we're sitting in the car across from the restaurant."
Mark put down the phone.
"What is wrong with those people? Assholes! They're just now leaving Buckhead to come here. That takes at least thirty minutes. I can't deal with these people any more. They aren't going to keep our reservation in that restaurant. Goddamnit, what is wrong with my family?"
That is when I looked down at his phone, and realized he hadn't disconnected. That is when I looked behind us, and standing right there was his sister with her phone, listening to everything Mark had said.
"I did not say I was just leaving Buckhead."
So the moral of this post is, don't assume things. Don't assume that the white people are all simply too tired to go out at night. Don't assume that you won't be welcomed just because you look different. And most of all, don't assume that the stupid iPhone has disconnected before you unleash a tirade against the person you think you hung up on.