Thursday, November 06, 2008

Quiet Jubilation

These are the words that come to mind in describing these post-election days. I have overhead so many people talking about how excited they are at the prospect of change and the message of hope that the election of Obama has brought. One co-worker came into office nearly dancing and just had to give everyone a hug because she was *so very* excited that our country has elected such a positive leader.

Obama has some big problems to fix and even greater expectations to fulfill. But the energy he has infused into this country is palpable.

photo taken by Richard Pohle/The Times

There's a cafeteria across the street from the building where I work. They make fantastic sandwiches fresh to order, at very decent prices. There's also the usual hot foods section. The lunch ladies are all helpful but fairly business-like, not a lot of chit-chat goes on even if you try to initiate it. They are not rude or unfriendly, but rather focused on getting out the food in a timely manner.

A few weeks ago I wanted specifically white rice to go with my Thai-food leftovers. I asked the black lady behind the counter if 'they had white rice' today (sometimes they do) That day, the answer was no. I later felt weird about asking the black lunch lady for white rice, almost like it paralleled some awful racist joke I'd overheard in high school hallways.

Yesterday I went over with a co-worker to grab a turkey sandwich. The black lunch-lady was at the counter again, promptly going through each station in her quiet, businesslike way--"Mayo? Mustard?" and "What kind of cheese do you want?" She wore a little smile that was not characteristic of her typical demeanor.

I noticed that beneath her navy apron, she was wearing a black t-shirt with Obama's forehead and the American flag printed in white just peeking over the neckline. As she handed my sandwich over to me, I looked straight at her and said, "That's a great shirt. I think I know who you have on underneath that apron."

She just looked back at me, smiled even wider, chuckled to herself. She wiggled a little bit--a restrained 'happy dance'--and scooted back to the beginning of the counter. "What kind of bread. honey?" she asked the next hungry person.

1 comment:

podart said...

Loved your little exchange at the food counter with the black lady. You can bet that if she wasn't doing her job serving up the food...she would be probably dancing with joy! Chanting Obama, Obama, Obama!