This post may end up behind a password rather quickly. If it does; use the ‘new’ password you were given just two weeks ago.
If you are very easily offended this post may not be for you. This post is in no way meant to be; racist, prejudiced, bigoted, or insightful. The following is simply me relaying to you something that happened on Saturday morning as we stood in line at The Shack in Waterford for brunch. That’s all. Got it?
We get to The Shack, our local diner, where pretty much everyone is a ‘regular’. You never know who you’ll run into but there always seems to be a sea of slightly familiar faces staring back at you. The Waiting Line is simple; the next party to be seated stands next to the inside door…to the left. The line forms behind them until it bends around to the other side of the inside waiting area, along that wall, and sometimes out the door.
Saturday was a little different. Upon opening the outer door we found two parties sitting on the bench on the near wall and one lone woman was standing on the far side of the bench. These six people should have been standing by the inner door, got it? The groups were; 3 black women ages, I dunno, 23-26, maybe and 3 white high school-aged girls, 15-17, maybe. The lone woman looked at us, shrugged her shoulders, my husband asked if any of those seated were in line and the nearest black woman said; “We are.” She never looked up from her phone.
Wait, let me be clear, not ONE of the SIX ever looked up from their damn phone!
We went and stood next to the lone white woman and the line began to form BACKWARDS. At first it was ok, but The Shack is a busy place and soon the outer waiting area was filling up. People are confused. They’re backing up by the outer door and others can’t get in even those there is enough space for them. They can’t come and form much of a line behind us because, well, there’s that bench those females were sitting on. Each time a new person came in they asked; “Where’s the line?” That single black lady answered; “We’re next.” Every time…she didn’t look up. Not even when the elderly woman with the walker, who could have used the seat, came in.
At that point, everyone is staring at the two groups who never look upward their eyes are glued to the phones while their fingers tap away. Everyone standing, who admittedly were white and older than any of the six sitting on the bench, glanced at everyone else. We shrugged. We raised eyebrows. We let out a few very small sighs but no one said a single word. Not one. We just waited in the silent confusion.
The group of three black ladies was called in to their table. No sooner did the last one get through the door then, as one, the crowd moved in one wave. My husband leaned in to the three white girls and a gentleman on the other did the same and said; “Get up. Over there.”
The girls got up without any hesitation (nor did they look away from their phones for more than a few seconds to realize the mess that was piling up) and they went and stood by the door. With little trouble, we all reformed the line in the proper order. We even pulled the little rope-chain-thing out farther so people could understand its purpose in life. Those waiting outside were finally allowed in where there was plenty of room for them. The lady with the walker got to take a needed seat. Other than that, a few quizzical and relief-filled expressions were passed around but no one said anything at all, no mumbles, no grumbles. We just went about the rest of our business.
One White Woman’s Observation:
I thought it odd because I’m 99% positive that it had been just the three girls or a group of three white women in their early to mid-twenties or both of those parties sitting on the bench staring at their phones someone would have said something like; “Excuse me, but you’re supposed to stand over there if you’re next in line. You’re kind of mucking things up here.”
Yet, in my very humble opinion, no one said a word because no one wanted to risk being considered the racist asshole in the crowd even though the circumstances didn’t have anything to do with race. I could be wrong. I often am. Obviously, this is as much of a Generational Thing as it may be a Race Thing. I really do believe the whole purpose of the SmartPhone is to make the owner stupid and totally oblivious to their surroundings. (They’re easier to control that way.)
Anyway, that’s the tale of the little social experiment the Universe dropped into my lap Saturday morning. Make something or nothing of it. I just thought I’d relay it to you.