Retail Re-Tales: The Parking Lot

I told you all that I would be sharing some of everything, especially my antics in public.  Many of these would be the things I do in stores. 

That being said, heeeeeeere we go!

[Originally published September 13, 2010 on Facebook]

This story takes place before I received right knee (total) replacement surgery.

*Warning: Although this is a true story, the re-telling contains use of mild expletives and a socially unacceptable, if not uncomfortable (the N-word) term.  But hey, this is how it happened…

“The Parking Lot”

As most of you know, I am in desperate need of surgery and, after several minor procedures, am at my last stop before total knee replacement. I’m walking with a cane now and using handicapped parking, while awaiting the big procedure on 9/28.

I decided to test my knee without a cane at Wal-Mart, while shopping for dinner items.  I figured that I could use the shopping cart for support to help disguise the limp.

After walking around for about 45 minutes, I was in excruciating pain.  I should have used the mobile assistance cart!  It was all I could bear, hobbling into the parking lot and back to the mini-van (yes, I was a soccer dad).  Thank GOD for handicapped parking.  At least now when I take those spaces – it’s legit.

As a result of my discomfort and concerted physical effort, I was drenched in perspiration.

As the beads rolled down my head, face and neck, I was at the point where I was noticeably rocking from left to right as I walked.  I looked like Ray Charles at the piano.  I was really bad off.  The passersby looked at me sympathetically because it looked like my actual permanent condition.

I loaded the back of the Toyota Sienna and closed the back.  Took a deep breath and worked my way to the shopping cart storage rack (I’m no saint, but I believe in taking the time to put the cart away, no matter what the distance.  I know I would never want someone else’s negligence or laziness to lead to my car being struck, so I repay the favor for others.).

I was groaning at this point, but I made it to the rack station and shoved the cart in, in victorious fashion.  I could almost feel my heartbeat in my knee at this point as I hobbled back in the ugliest stride I could ever imagine.  Yeah, it was bad…

As I got within about 5 yards of my car door, I passed by an angry-looking gentleman who shouted out sarcastically, “Thanks, Niggah!”

Don’t go into shock.  He was African American, like me.

“PARDON me?” I replied with a puzzled, yet threatening look.  Damn, my cane was in the CAR!!!  Gotta check my tone.

“Because of YOU, I have to go put my cart back!  My girl saw yo’ crippled ass pushing your cart back and made me get out of the car!”

(Apparently, he had put his cart in front or at the side of his car.)

I figured it was time to catch or give a beat-down at this point…

“FIRST,” I began, “I put the car back because it’s the right thing to DO!
SECOND, it ain’t my fault that you have to put your cart away. 
THIRD, I am highly offended by your blatant and thoughtless use of the N-word!

It’s bad enough that I, as an African American manager, have had to endure racism, harassment and discrimination on jobs where I was the ONLY person of color in the entire company!  I have had to work TWICE as hard for acceptance in too many situations and I have to be careful about any and EVERYthing I say and do, for fear of people assuming that I’m just doing the “stereotypical thing”.  YOU should have better respect for yourself AND your people.  You have enough people LOOKING to call you that word.  You don’t need to VALIDATE their beliefs and disrespect!”

[Nervous silence.  Hopefully onlookers will break it up quickly.]

“Whatever, niggah…” he answered as he walked away.  It was clear that he had nothing equivocal, by which to reply.

I opened the door and got in, painfully, of course.  I hesitated before starting the car, taking a deep breath and shaking my head in defeat.  He didn’t learn a thing.

I backed out of the spot and drove in his direction. 

As I reached him I rolled down the window and met his stare, slowing down to a stop.  I stuck my head out of the window and figured I’d put and exclamation point on my passionate speech – so I yelled out, in my best Dave Chappelle voice:

“…and DAS what you GIT!  I’m GLAD she made you take the cart back, ya lazy-ass NIGGAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”

When fired upon, return the fiyahhhh…

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