April 2018

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Connecting in the Freezing Drizzle

Walking to the bus in Seattle's freezing drizzle today, I thought about the conversation that my yoga teacher Anna and I just had.

I was telling Anna about the way that public interactions with African-Americans whom I don't know has changed since my tumors.

As a white middle-class woman, I must have looked like a person of privilege before these tumors--and I was. I still am. But perhaps now I look like a person of privilege who has had a hard time.

I was telling Anna that, for whatever reason,  our interactions have changed so much since these tumors. African-Americans are the most likely to greet me, to ask me how I am, and to bless me as I walk through the neighborhood now.

As I thought about this, a tall African-American man walking towards me waved his cane at me. I waved back. When we got closer, he said to me, "Stroke?"

I said, "No. Brain tumors. You?"

He nodded to acknowledge the brain tumors and said, "Stroke." Then he raised his left arm, in a cast: "It's broke," he said.

It seemed that he wanted to say more, so I waited. He finally grimmaced a little, showing his missing front teeth, and said, "I can't hardly talk anymore."

I nodded as he had and said, "I hope you're going somewhere to get warm. It's too cold out here."

By way of saying good-bye, he said, "See you soon."

I hope so.

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