Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way Home From New Years

I feel the need to preface this with a disclaimer and statement...
1) I am rather tipsy at this point, so there is every chance that the story will be funnier to me than to you...
2) I am the most tolerant, open minded and liberal individual you are likely to meet (I'm a black lesbian with mental health issues currently wearing a beard for goodness sake)

So, there we were on the night bus (£5.00 no passes - thanks First, really glad that I pay £800.00/ year!) I had just finished half a bottle of wine and a Jeremiah Weed... I was a little tipsy. A seemingly nice gentleman got in the bus, followed by two gays and two lesbians. The most important part of this story is that there was a mixed race guy on the back seat... this is VERY relevant!

We got into a conversation with the gay guys about our wedding and CP/Marriage Laws (they've been CP'd since 2001) when suddenly I hear the guy behind me going what I'd call apeshit because one of the other girls on the bus had asked if he was Jewish. Now I do have a problem with this. If somebody assumed I was Jewish, or assumed I wasn't, I would just let them know you are wrong, actually this is the case. But this guy went utterly "sick" as my young cousin might say.
"You can't go around asking people questions like that..." my interest was peaked... Why not?

I'll skip forward slightly as the story is muddled in my head, but somewhere along the line, one of the gay guys points to the back of the bus and says "There's a black guy on the back of the bus, well, black or asian". I giggled and responded, "There is definitely an afro coming in there, he's black." Nickie blushed, the guy laughed and was not in any way offended.

The first man who had been asked if he was Jewish somehow totally misconstrued the situation (possibly drink related). The next ten minutes of the journey consisted of him saying - verbatim "YOU JUST TOLD ME I SHOULD SIT AT THE BACK OF THE BUS BECAUSE I'M JEWISH? YOU ARE SICK". I interjected (Nickie told me to shut up because I think she sensed trouble afoot) "No, I think you've misunderstood that..." "I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU WOULD SAY THAT, YOU CAN'T SAY THAT". Meanwhile the gay guy is trying to explain "No, there's a black guy, at the back of the bus". I'm not sure if the issue was with the phrase "The Back of The Bus", perhaps if he'd said "On The Back Seat" it would have been different... but all I could think was, in another parallel universe, that black guy is sitting on the front seat, and none of this exchange has taken place... I couldn't help but laugh at that though, how utterly muddled things can get because of words and connotations and assumptions.

The guy then started going on about how you can't ask someone what their ethnicity is, you can't call somebody black. I turned to the man and said, "Since when is the word black a racial slur?" He was kinda stunned into silence. I then said "If somebody assumed I was black or asian, or a christian or not a christian, it wouldn't bother me. None of those things are offensive. In fact, I've been called gay, lesbian, dyke since I was 17, I am proud to be black, gay and a christian so I don't see those words as offensive."

"I don't practice the Jewish religion." He whispered.
"Sorry?" I said.
"I don't practice the Jewish religion." A little louder this time.

The bus stopped, I wished them all a Happy New Year and thanked them for a fun ride and apologised to the bus driver.

"I'm not a practicing heterosexual" I thought, "but it wouldn't offend me to be asked if I was one..."

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