Wednesday, April 02, 2003

My Little Town

After work on Monday, I wanted a walk, so I strolled to the mailbox by Retreat Hospital and dropped in a few things. A block or two from my destination, I realized it was getting colder, so I decided I'd better pop into Halcyon on the way home to get warm. The owner, was on duty (with her Scottie and another little terrier), and before I knew it, I had a smart 1960s white dress on hold, to wear in the Laurel Parade at reunion.

On the way back over yesterday, a man walking with his toddler girl and an older man gives me "hey baby," in a cool, not-quite-threatening voice. What the hell? I wore a biggish, frumpy sweater and sneakers. Don't talk to me like that just because I think it is proper to look at, nod to, the people I meet in the street. The "cultural differences" shadow looms. Maybe to him, my looking his way was an invitation; maybe he thinks "baby" is a correct thing to call women he doesn't know.

And cultural differences leads to the US's current entanglements. Why do we get to say “democracy for everyone”? Why do we have “In God We Trust” on our money, and then get to tell them no religious leaders in their government? I don’t trust in god, despite what my cash says. How do we know when to respect someone else’s culture and when to say, “yo, that’s too much?”

I read that UR will have a campus-wide question next year: “How do we know which questions to ask?” Cool.

All these thoughts slipped in and out of my brain quickly. The evening was too nice to contemplate if I should have done something other than ignore him. Yesterday evening was much warmer than Monday, and I enjoyed the 4 o’clock light on the old houses and the hyacinths and daffodils blooming. I liked walking over to Robinson Street to pick up a $22 dress to wear in May. The world is complicated, but all-in-all, not that bad.

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