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Life is only what you wonder.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

You Come Talkin' That Trash And I'll Pull Your Card*

I've always said that I can get along with almost anyone. Put me in with a group of nuns, or a bunch of Rastafarians (or any other group) and I will most likely find some kind of common denominator, some way to get along.
It's one of those skills that just come naturally. I don't know why that is, but it's one of those things I don't question too heavily.

However, with that being said, there are some people who (for whatever reason) are determined not to get along with me, no matter what. They are resolved, it seems, not to give me a chance. Right from the get go, they're in my face.
I usually look at such situations as a challenge, putting my "skills" to the acid test.

I've always maintained that I don't necessarily have to be best friends with my co-workers. All that's really important is that we are able to work together efficiently.
I am fortunate to say I genuinely like the majority of people I work with, and I believe they genuinely like me in return.
We look out for one another, watch each other's sections when we're taking smoke breaks, give each other a hand when we're in the weeds. We can laugh and joke, have fun, and still get the job done.
It's a good feeling.

A recent addition to the crew, Ray rubbed everyone the wrong way from day one. Affable and cheerful with the guests, he was totally different in the back of the house where no customers are present. Standoffish and downright hostile with the rest of the staff, seeming like he can barely tolerate us. Acting like a big asshole to everyone in general, and to me in particular.

After a few failed attempts at trying to get along with him, with absolutely no success, I did what anyone else would do: Avoid All Contact.
It worked for a little while.

Anyway, last night I'm going through the IN door with a tray of dirty dishes and I collide with Ray who was going out to the dining room with a tray of drinks.
I held on to my tray, but his went flying. Soda, juice, ice cubes and drinking glasses going everywhere.
Totally his fault, he was going through the wrong door. That's why we have IN doors and OUT doors, to prevent accidents like that.
Well he starts hollering and cursing, calling me a "sumbitch" and saying why don't I watch where I was going.
All this shit.

Had it been anyone else, I would have apologized (even though it wasn't my fault) and helped them clean up. But it wasn't anyone else, it was him, and I'd gotten nothing but grief from him, and I didn't deserve to be talked to in such a manner, so I didn't do any of that.
I just kept going.

He's raising such a fuss that you could hear him in the dining room and a manager had to come back to see what the problem was. After reviewing the facts, the verdict reached was that after almost a month, there is absolutely no reason why anyone shouldn't know which door was which.

Vindicated! Yes!

Then he had to pull the "race card".

I am loath to discuss racial issues simply because race isn't a big deal to me.
Never has been.
Black, Asian, purple with green spots, it's all the same to me. People are people.

Anyway . . .
he started telling anyone that would listen that I'm prejudiced, that I don't like black people, and he's another black man being strung up by "whitey".


First, it was an accident. I didn't knock his tray over on purpose for goodness sake! If he'd been going through the right door, it never would have happened in the first place.
Second, I never disliked him because he was black -- I couldn't care less about that. I disliked him because he was a big asshole. That's OK, right? I think I'm allowed to dislike someone for that reason.
And third, why just assume someone is prejudiced? Truly, he doesn't know me well enough to be making that kind of determination.

Nobody believed him, of course.
"Jimmy? Prejudiced? Don't make me laugh!"
It still bothered me to have that accusation thrown at me, whether it's true or not.
Should I just assume he doesn't like white people? That he doesn't like gay people? That he doesn't like gay white people?
I wouldn't make such a statement about anyone unless I had more proof to back it up.

I try my best not to assume anything.
I don't see why other people find that to be so difficult.

* Post title is from Boyz 'N The Hood by Eazy-E, slightly modified by me, because I can do that.