My PIC and I went to the big, corporate craft store in her part of town yesterday. Oh, the adventures!
We were standing in line to buy our items, and I picked up a package of big star-shaped sequins that was in the clearance bin, just to see what the hell they were supposed to be for.
LADY: Those are really pointed.
All of a sudden the lady behind me was talking to me.
LADY: Yeah, I bought them once, and I thought I could wear them, like as a bracelet or something, but then I put it on and "ow!" So I tried it in my hair, and it just was terrible. Don't buy those.
LADY: Oh, ok. (I put them back in the bin.)
LADY: I'm making a costume for Cinco de Mayo.
About in her early sixties and quite tall, she stood there smiling and wrapping some ribbon back around its spool. She was very cheerful.
LADY: It's going to be white and red and green. The colors of the Mexican flag. I'm Mexican. At my church, they're having a thing, and my friend said, "I'm going to be working in the kitchen." And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Because they're having Mexican food, and I'm Mexican." So I said, "I'll work in the kitchen, too! I'm Mexican!" I love to tell people I'm Mexican. One time, I was in Miami, and I was on a tour, and the guy on the bus was telling us all about Miami, how they have all kinds of Latinos there. He said "We have Nicaraguans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans. Not like in Texas. In Texas, they have Mexicans."
She leaned forward and squinted her eyes when she said that last part. You know, for emphasis.
LADY: So I said really excited, "Oh! I'm Mexican!" And I raised my hand up like this! And then he shut up. Because he'd said Mexican like that. Mexicans. He knew what he did.
ME and PIC: Wow!
LADY: Yeah, another time, I was on a tour bus and I didn't even tip the guy because...
She went on and regaled us with about three more stories about her run-ins with racism, never losing her very cheery tone. She made sure to tell us that she always spoke up about it.
LADY: Yeah, that's me. I'm outspoken. Not like my cousin. She's real passive. You know, a pacifist. But not me! I always have to say something.
ME and PIC: That's great!
By this point, my PIC and I were up to the register and had to turn away from her to pay for our things, and the lady seamlessly, I mean with the grace of a ballerina, turned to the guy behind her and continued on.
LADY: You know, one time I was at a church function, and I saw these ribbons, and I thought I could make those, but I didn't know if I had the time, because I was going on a trip.
Spreading the gospel, this lady. The gospel of speaking up, in a cheery tone, when people are being tools.
How great is that?