November 17, 2008

Shame on you!

Long ago.. at East Dulwich Sainsbury's in London:

My friend Amber told me the story- here goes: She was shopping for groceries, some bread, eggs, milk, the usual stuff, and some chocolate and cupcakes, because she has a sweet tooth. While she was getting ready to pay, two people lined up behind her, nice looking couple. My friend's thought was let's get this done, pack her bags and go home.. until she heard the most unimaginable: these two people were speaking her native language, and the woman was pointing at my friend's groceries "Look at that girl, what she is buying". Yeah, meaning the cupcakes, croissants, chocolates etc that she was buying. My friend was stunned into silence, but after half a minute regained her senses, turned to look at the woman (who was not Miss World beauty lookalike either) and asked "What is it that you said?"- in their common native language. The woman looked like she would want to take her words back and for the ground to swallow her, but what's once given (i.e. nasty words) cannot be taken back just like that. the man, much wiser, kept quiet, but at the end said "My wife did not mean that".
Yes, the lesson was learned- both parties. My friend learned that an overweight, plump, fat person has no room in this world, in the eyes of this "handsome couple". But she persevered, lost pounds and pounds of weight and looks happy and healthy nowadays. And she hopes that these two people learned not make comments like this- one day it may land you into big trouble. Come to think of it, my friend did the right thing.
I think a public humiliation would have been the right way to go- and today, 11 years later, we are here to tell the story. Amber shared her story with her housemate Nancy, who thought this was plain stupid. Watch out when you open your mouth and speak in a language that no one around you can understand- there may still be someone out there; that old lady, this plump young woman, the man next to you, the nurse behind you...

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