Saturday, March 14, 2009


Man at the hardware store says to me:

What accent you got there?

South African.

You don't look South African .


You don't look the type.

Here we go, I think: What type is that?

Man thinks, wheels visibly churning.

Well, not, think-think, what our American perception might be...

Which is..? I say, studying the potting soil.

Well: you don't look like a spear thrower!



Me, mildly: I don't think there's much spear throwing going on down there.

Man, incredulous, Really???


  1. ROTFL. You should've added, with an intense look at him: "But there still is cannibalism."

  2. Then he would have uttered something unspeakable.

  3. I once have a similar conversation with a man on a train station in an ex-communist country.

    Man - "You can't be from Africa - you're white!"

    Me - "South Africa" (lots of map drawing and gesticulating)

    "Aah. You killed the black people!" He points an imaginary gun at crowds running away.

    "Unfortunately, bad things happened" I look extremely apologetic.

    "I totally agree with what you did there!" He gives a big thumbs up, accompanied by a wide smile.

    I sigh and change the topic.

  4. Hm, I recently got in trouble on the Net for being too sarcastic so I'm not even gonna TOUCH that...

  5. I love Beence's suggestion...I love to have been a fly on the wall if you'd been able to continue your conversation with that response! It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant a lot of North Americans are about life outside their little walls!

  6. "I'm from an island in the South Pacific."

    "Yeah? You don't look like one!"

    Not sure whether the bigotry or the grammar bothers me more. Today, I shrug it off, but it still irks me.

  7. ugh!!

    but at the very least, thanks for the reminder that dimwits are everywhere — even in the mostly worldly of cities.

  8. I'm old enough to know better but I still find this a bit shocking. It's also, for me, a good reminder that I shouldn't be overly optimistic about this country (USA) electing a non-white. It's tempting to think that, what's the cliche? "we've moved beyond race." No we haven't.


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