Standing in line at Starbucks with my friend I said, "You shave in the shower? Do you have a mirror in there?"
He said, "No, I just know how to do it. I've only had a couple of side-burn mishaps."
So I stood there, intermittently asking questions about his shower-shaving practice; I don't know what else we talked about, because for the rest of the short conversation, I was biding my time until I could ask another question to ascertain what kind of man would shave in the shower without a mirror.
Then it hit me:
Holy shit. I'm black.
Holy shit! I'm black.
Holy shit!! I'm BLACK!
It landed on me, again, like a ton of bricks. To be sure, this was not the first time I'd realized how hard it is to be different, or how hard it is be black (and, therefore, different) in this world. Each time, though, I am struck (ha) by how clarity arrives with the "uh, duh" information.
Perhaps racial lines are drawn in the sand - literally, in the trenches. In the innocent or mundane, ahem, niggling trifles of our days. In the stuff that we do, say, share - or, rather, won't do, don't say, or wouldn't dare.
So then I said, "Don't answer any more of my questions. I won't ever understand. It's a black thing."
And as he opened his mouth to respond, I said, "Sssshh. Don't even get me started on that. Want some coffee?"