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Travails (and Travels) in a Tow Truck, with BONUS racism!

Hello everyone!

Hope everyone had a suparrrrr fun weekend.

This weekend I went to a friend's "summer house" on a river about 3 hours from where I currently reside in DC. Yes, it is all that and a bag of chips, and yes, I am checking my privilege. It's awesome that I can go do this and lay around a pool and boat for a weekend without having to pay for more than food and gas to get there.


Long story short: My car died. Not just a regular death, it was so dead, I couldn't even unlock the doors. I've had dead batteries before, but this was D-E-A-D dead. This is odd, b/c my car has a fail safe. When you turn the car off ALL electrical systems turn off, except for the automatic door locks. You physically CANNOT leave a light on.

So, la la la I'm off to my trunk (through the car, opening with the "HELP I'VE BEEN KIDNAPPED" latch... awesome fun times.) so I can get the jumper cables out of my car.

No dice. APPARENTLY, someone at my parent's house (SIBLINGSSSSSS) decided they were going to borrow my jumper cables and NOT replace them. Tanks guise.

Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere?

So, off we go to the local Walmart (none of the local hardware stores are open as it's Sunday, and although I have sworn I will never purchase things at Walmart... I need to get home.) After working our way through aisles of "Wild Cat Blood" and "Fox Urine" we found the jumper cables. Return to the homestead. Once there, my friend goes "oh I had to do this 2 weeks ago, I can do it." I, STUPIDLY, trust her.


She connects the clamps in the wrong order. As my car's alarm system and ALLL the lights come blaring on, she WHIPS her hand away. I fear the worst. No, my battery has just ARCED into the clamp, but didn't hurt her in any way. We reconnect them the correct way and run her car. No chance. She's finally almost out of gas, so I hop in the car and call AAA while on the way to the 7-Eleven.

"Hi there, we need the address of your car's location." "well, i can give you the name of the lane it's on, we're in the country and the house is the only house on the street." "well i need a number..." "well, there is no number, but I can direct the driver quite easily as it is the only house on the street." "Can you see the numbers on the house from where you are." There are no numbers." "well how do they receive mail? what's the mailing address" (like asking me the same question in a different way is going to elicit a different answer.) "Well... they don't receive mail at this address."



SO I hang up. I call my dad, who is used to dealing with this sort of nonsense. And TL;DR? I ended up riding with a racist tow truck driver for 3+ hours.


I knew things would get bad when after about 30 minutes, he asked me what "I thought of Paula Deen."


I doubted I wanted to get into a philosophical argument about racial language (sorry, I'm a bad ally, I was literally locked into a tiny cab with a man who was carrying the most valuable piece of property I own while I was at his mercy.) So I said "well, I'm not sure, I know I've liked her food before all this... I'm not so sure about her now."


His response was a treatise on how "Northern 'blacks' like where you're from little lady,* are good people. They drive nice cars, buy houses, send their kids to school. Southern blacks, like from around these parts and where I'm from, are just ..." I won't sully you with the rest of the conversation. I'm sure you can guess.

* I am from Virginia, just... right outside Washington, D.C.

THEN, I tried to steer the conversation towards historical things (we drove by some colonial era buildings, and he had mentioned he had a colonial well in his backyard...) I discussed that I had actually done a lot of work in college on colonial and pre-colonial structures built by Europeans, and we talked about brick types, and how not to die in a well or ice house collapse. He proceeds to THEN ask me what I thought about the CHEERIOS commercial.


I actually thought: "Well... this will be fun to post on Groupthink... so glad I have posting privileges now."

"I don't see anything wrong with it, it shows a family that is very typical in America these days. They're trying to sell Cheerios, not make a huge statement I don't think..."


"Well I watched a video of all these little children, saying that, well, they couldn't see much wrong with it. just goes to show most things is learned."

Now, I thought this was him being ACCEPTING of the biracial marriage in the commercial so I was thinking that "oh well, I mean, everyone is a product of their environment...." I was quickly informed that this was incorrect.


He also got in on his "one time business partner, a "Jewish guy named Barry. He was just Jewish down to the bone, chip chip chip all the way to the bottom line."

He also admitted to being a slum lord at one time or another. He literally used the words "slum lord."


Now, I love the country. I am a huge fan of local markets and open spaces and fields and horses. I'm a horse person, have been my whole life. But damn it if I will ever actually be able to MOVE there, if people are like this. I've seen racism, but never in this average, everyday OPEN form. I guess it's because I've always lived in a "multi-ethnic" area, and predominately been schooled alongside people from other backgrounds (I am white, of Irish and Eastern European Jewish descent) that I've never seen its casual side. It's frightening.

Haws anyone else ever has the "casual racism" just sneak up on them?

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