Friday, April 16, 2010

When Being Friendly Goes Wrong

Today Roa and I headed to a Sudanese owned grocery store here on 18th St. in DC. The owner met Roa and when I told him "she is from Gaza," "and that's her first visit to an Arabic grocery store in the States" The owner got excited and look at Roa..."you from Gaza?", "No, you are not from Gaza", you do not like the ones always on TV. I mean Roa was dressed nice in a jeans and a blue jersey, nothing too fancy. But still the owner insisted that his image of a Gazan is not like that of Roa. Finally he came around and realized that she is really from Gaza but after unknowingly insulting both of our families and friends in Gaza.

We keep walking and head to the Marshall's in our area at Columbia Heights and as we check out, the lady at the store she looks at Roa and asks, "Hey, where you from?", "Palestine" Roa said. She sales associate repeated Pakistan? Roa said no Palestine. The sales associate said "like near Jordan?" We were relieved that she knew the neighborhood, so we said YES! The sales associate said, yeah you look like you from Jordan. I jokes, "You mean she does not look like a Puerto Rican?" She said "No, she does not like Hispanic at all". Then she volunteered, "You know you look like whom?" We said whom? the sales associate said, you know the movies about Jesus? We said yes! Then she said that Roa might as well come from one of those movies. You look like a Mary! I was laughing at this awkward conversation and tried to end it "Yes and she is that old too".

I love when people try to be friendly of give a compliment but end up making it harder for themselves. I am guilty of that sometimes, but I have gotten used to that during my time in college when unassuming people ask me basic questions that were not so basic as I thought.




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