I Don’t Want to Be a Hashtag…

So I am sitting here in Starbucks illegally downloading movies on piratebay enjoying my iced coconut milk il_570xN.1051635703_ahhqcaramel macchiato this fine Sunday morning and felt a crazy wave of frustration come over me. If you are my FB friend you have seen spurts of these in the last month… they are usually 4 sentence long with some form of witty wordplay to protect my non-POC friends from being uncomfortable.

Because you know making non-POC people feel comfortable is the responsibility  of every “good black person” to combat the scariness of those angry radical ones… 

Sigh…. I am angry. I am still angry. I am angry that a week ago (the night after the Dallas shooting) I was in genuine fear for my life. 

I was at this very Starbucks (which is probably what is bringing up this feeling) late one night. I was again illegally downloading movies on piratebay enjoying my grande vanilla bean frap, waiting to have a late night conversation with a friend. I looked at the clock… dang I have to go. Jumped in my car and said to myself “Kristi you only have four more minutes to finish downloading the last episode of Underground one more sip of your Vanilla Bean so just go ahead and finish”. I turned off my headlights so not to blind the people sitting by the window, finished up and went on my way home.

I am about a block away from my house and I see a trooper driving next to me. My body tenses but I am good. I am almost home. I am respectable. As I am making one of my last turns he cuts behind me and turns on his lights. I freeze. My heart pounds. I rack my brain for what I could have done. Is it because I have a baseball cap on? Do I match some kind of description? Is there some hardened criminal driving around in a white Fiat with Gator tags?

He comes up on the passenger side of my car with a flashlight shining in my windows. I can’t see his hands. Is he holding the flashlight with both hands? I CAN’T SEE HIS HANDS. I am terrified. I put down the window and immediately put my hands up, then resting them palms up on the steering wheel.

Was that a smirk? Did he smirk in the face of my terror?

“Do you know your lights are off?”

“Oh no. I didn’t. I just left Starbucks and forgot to turn them on.”

I am too afraid to move my hands to reach for the dial to turn them on.

“Are they on now?”

I fidget and turn them on.

“Yes.”

He walks away without another word…

I am frozen. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what is coming next. I am paralyzed.

He pulls off.

I cry. I mourn for everyone who wouldn’t have made it home for this same simple offense. I cry that I did. Deep sobs of survivor’s remorse escape. I hate myself for being so scared. I hate him for reveling in it.

But mostly I cry because I didn’t thank God for letting me make it home, I blamed Him for this world that made me question whether I would.

 

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