I was leaving the supermarket tonight, early, because they were about to have a power outage.
There was a teenaged kid working the door to keep people from entering, and we exchanged good nights.
There were two other young guys: one was another employee on a smoke break, and the other was a miscellaneous local kid in a hoodie and shorts. Maybe another employee, maybe note. This kid was telling jokes.
As I passed he said “Why are black people so tall? Because they’re Negroes.” I thought, well, that’s some dumb fifth grade humor.
Then, as I was walking to my car he said “How do you keep black guys out of your back yard? Hang one in the front.”
The door kid looked uncomfortable. “Hey, not when the store is open, okay.”
Hoodie Joker Kid said something I couldn’t hear. Door kid said again “Whatever when the store is closed, just you can’t do that stuff when we’re open, okay.”
Hoodie Joker says “You’re closed in five minutes. Anyway no one cares.”
I said “I care.”
The kids looked at me. Door kid was paralyzed. Smoke break kid just smoked. Hoodie said “Uh… sorry sir” in a tone that indicated a great lack of sorrow.
“Keep that shit inside of your house, dude.” I drove away.
I feel like I should have got up in the kid’s face and been loud, but I don’t know. I guess I communicated a combination of disapproval and advice. Maybe I just wanted to be loud and threatening because I was angry, and it would have been dumb.
I wonder if he’ll ever figure out that there’s a world outside Newport Beach where lynching jokes have consequences.
It put a shiver down my spine.