5/3/13

Drive-Thru Stereotyping . . .

I mean, I don't want to say WHICH restaurant this
story happened at but, um, look above.
I had a watershed moment in my conversion this morning. I haven't had my "you are now a Jew" ceremony yet but, I'll tell ya', I am feeling like I'm earning some pre-ceremony liberties. Your friend Sean, you see, had his first Jewish stereotype dialogue this morning. And I was not nearly as horrified or angry as I was shocked. Here's how it played out . . .

I was running late for a all-morning meeting "thing" and realized I should eat something. The only place on my route was a fast food restaurant serving an "egg-white and cheese on protein fortified carb-based serving vessel only" version of its most popular morning sandwich on the dollar menu. I had three minutes and 200 calories to spare so I jerked the wheel (that's not a euphemism) and ordered (by the way - I PROMISE I am not making my blog a daily dialogue forum).

Woman 1: "Order when you are ready."
Me: "Yes. Good morning. May I have one of your egg white breakfast sandwiches, without the Canadian bacon, and a large iced tea, please?"
-- Dramatic pause while screen flashes from "welcome" to my almost-correct order --
Woman 1: "If the order on the screen is correct, please pull forward."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Woman 1: "Yes."
Me: "I believe the sandwich should cost just one dollar. Is that correct?"
-- NO verbal response. Pause. Screen updates itself with a charge of $1 but no longer clarifies "no Canadian bacon." I figure, oh well, and drive ahead. --
Me: "Excuse me (while handing debit card), my sandwich will be without Canadian bacon, right?"
Woman 1: (while running card) "Yes, sir."
Me: "Great. Thanks. Have a great day."
-- drive ahead --
Woman 2: (handing iced tea and bag) "Here you go. Have a great day, sir."
Me: (opening bag and wrapper) "Excuse me. I had asked for this without the Canadian bacon. May I have another one?"
Woman 2: "Can you just take it off?" (note - woman 1 appears in the window at this point, I think by chance.)
Me: "Welllll. Not really. I'm trying to practice a lazy-Kosher lifestyle and at least skip any pork, ham, or pig products and the ham has touched my food and well . . ."
Woman 2: (looking like she has NO idea what I said and probably hoping I won't repeat or clarify just reaches out hand) "Of course, sir. Just hand me that one, please." (shouts out that she needs a sandwich without the ham)
Woman 1: (overhearing, whispering with colleague, then leaning out the window) "Oh. You're Jewish?"
Me: "Well . . . sorta'."
Woman 1: "That explains why you were so worried about the cost of your sandwich, huh?"

Annnnnnd SCENE!

I know I should be offended and horrified and I am ONLY because stuff like that happens, and such stereotypes/dismissals exists and does offend and harm a lot of people (I try not to be sensitive to any real form of criticism that doesn't come from people I truly respect or admire) who are subjected to it. I actually had a laugh about the absurdity of it all (I've been cheap since I was thrown from my mother's warm, well-accommodated womb).

If you looked at your calendar and realized it is MAY 2013 (or May 1213, or May 413, or May 183) and you are still making "Jews are cheap" comments - you have my sympathies, not my aggravation. Shalom.

NOTE: This post has been modified from its original subject/title and some comment to change any reference to "antisemitism" to a reference to "negative stereotypes" (or the like) as, to credit the comments below, this instance is nowhere near a full blown antisemitic experience. Thanks, readers, for keeping me honest.