In the supermarket checkout line today I went to pull out my debit card, and as I did the KKK card that was hidden in my wallet slid out an inch or so, just far enough for black checkout lady to see the bold, red "KKK" printed across the top. I wasn't sure what to do.
I'd been carrying the card in my wallet for the last month or so, ever since I was at the Johnson County Library and I opened up a book called Profiles in Black Power and the card tumbled out in my lap. This was a disconcerting experience. I kept the card. I showed it to the kids at Central and told them the story and we were all suitably appalled. I'm not sure why I kept the card. I guess as a reminder of having found it in a book about Black Power, as a testament to how chicken shit and sleezy KKK types are.
A few weeks ago the card fell out of my wallet and I told Allie that I should get rid of it lest it fall out at a moment when it would not be welcome, like when I'm around black folks, which I often am.
So it came out today in the checkout line. I don't know if the woman saw it. She works there a lot and I shop there a lot. I don't want her to think that I'm with the KKK.
Right before the card fell out, the checkout lady had to call a manager over to her register to deal with someone's check. The woman had a gaunt face that looked like a skull. Her teeth appeared as though they are rotting. I immediately assumed that she is on meth.
I've been making this assumption a lot lately, ever since I saw a special about meth on Frontline. The show reported on the physical effects of meth. One of the cops interviewed for the show said he can spot a meth addict from a mile away. After seeing the show I now think I can too.
I live in a relatively poor area of town. It's racially diverse. Often when I see whites walking down the main drag in my part of town I take a good long look to see if they have sunken cheekbones and eyes. When they do I say to myself, "I bet they're on meth." There are a lot of white people with this look.
The woman had the look. It was interesting because she's obviously gainfully employed. As she dealt with the check I conjured a story about her. I imagined that she was high on meth at that very moment. It seemed plausible because she seemed to have a lot of energy. I thought that maybe this woman thought the drug actually helps her, that it gives her the energy she needs to survive in the 21st century marketplace. But then I also thought about how tenuous this would be if it were true. My hunch is that a meth addict would eventually run into big problems down the road and their success would disappear along with their cheeks and teeth.
Then I wondered, why don't blacks do meth? Do they?
What am I going to do about this woman who thinks I'm a Klansman? I hope she never covers the express lane while I'm there.