Be the Same in Private as You Are in Public

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Today my girl has a playdate at our apartment and we went to pick up some snacks:

  • Ice pops (yes, in the winter)
  • Tings (2 bags)
  • 2 Organic Apples
  • Popcorn with a touch of butter. (Paul Newman)

As I went to the register, I spotted the usual clerk, a young woman wearing a navy blue hijab.

An older, white gentleman cuts in front of me and normally I’d speak up—but I let it go because he’s older and has just two items to buy.

With an accent, the clerk tells him says: “$11.58”.

“What did you say?” the gentleman asks imperiously. The young clerk remains silent. He turns to a young black woman with wavy long hair who is working at another counter: “What did she say? I can’t understand her!” He seems to enjoy the spectacle he’s creating.

I said: “She said ‘$11.58’ (line cutter!) Just ask her what she said.”

He ignored me and continued to speak loudly to the other cashier: “I can’t understand her! Do you work here?”

I looked at his face and suddenly a memory sprouted up. I thought to myself: “That face, that name, I know who that is…” 

I asked him, “Wait are you on TV?”

He stopped and gave me a strange look, almost a smirk. Half happy to be recognized and half in terror for being caught for behaving like a bully.

He asked: “Why are you? Are you?”

I said: “Nope.”

I knew exactly who he was. I remembered seeing him on TV reviewing Charlyne Yi’s gorgeous movie, Paper Hearts. He was a critic and the way he panned the movie made me think he was a bitter, old dude who didn’t understand the movie, nor tried to understand it and therefore he dismissed it.

Of course, he is a critic.

Back to present time in the grocery store.

This turned to the young woman wearing a hijab.

“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t understand you.” He weakly apologized, took his bag and left.

I felt a little bad for calling him out and wondered if he was just having a bad day.

The young woman began ringing my snacks up and looked wearily in his direction:

“He does this all the time.”

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Author: Natalie Kim

Hey, thanks for stopping by. I'm Natalie Kim, an actress (Blacklist, Madam Secretary, Law & Order) and comedian living in New York City. On days off, I enjoy complaining about the Mets, reading and spend much of my time thinking about the possibility of working out.

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