Ever see the CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM episode "The N Word"?
Where Larry whines "But I was QUOTING someone!"
I was at a small Christmas party where this lawyer ended up dominating the whole room, loudly deriding liberals who had voted for Obama as being stupid (everyone in the room but him) and saying derogatory things about gay marriage (my good friend in the room is gay, whom I always refer to as Litigous Friend as he threatens me to never use his name on the blog). It was all "I tell my gay clients" this, and "I tell x clients" that, and everyone was labeled and it was just hideous and judgemental and righteous and everything I hate.
After not taking several directions from people to change the subject, stop sermonizing, etc., and me making increasingly aggressive threats for him to let someone else speak that were quickly heading towards me decking the guy, Brenda (big sis), Litigous Friend and I leave. In really foul, angry moods. We were just aghast at the nerve of this bigoted blowhard.
My sister and I decide to stop at the Dollar Store to look for paper products for our own upcoming holiday party. Which we very specifically called a holiday party, to include everyone. But all the store has for paper plates were Christmas themes or Santa. Brenda was fretting Santa. "We said it was a holiday party. Can we have Santa now? Will it offend our Jewish friends? What about Kwanzaa?"
Of course as a little sister not REALLY being asked for my opinion, and as a quarter Jew by blood who knows NOTHING about the religion or how practicing Jews might feel, I tentatively say "I don't think so. I think they'd be fine with it."
As usual per my little sister advice, this statement does nothing to assuage Brenda's nerves. She continues to ruminate in the Dollar Store aisle as I get more and more bored and have too much time to stew about that asshole at the party. The third time she turns to me to ask what I think, knowing she's not going to listen to me anyway, and referring back to bigot at the party, I spout off with "I don't know. Why don't you call your Jew and black friends and ask them."
At the same moment a tiny, ancient hassidic woman walks past us in the small aisle. With a huge grin on her skeletal face, she begins chanting in another language, gesturing wildly, and violently flipping me the bird.
I watch her tiredly. This display is nothing new to me. I was cursed a quarter dozen times like this by witches in Prague. Fucking Prague.
Oblivious Brenda, plates in one hand, cell phone in the other, loudly asks Litigous Friend his thoughts on purchasing the goddamned Santa plates (he thinks they're fine) as the tiny woman continues her voodoo dance around me, cursing my already adequately shriveled ovaries. For a moment I wish I knew the hassidic phrase for "You needn't bother", or had never had that white-washing nose job that ended my many invitations from rabbis to join them Friday night in Temple.
Finally, Brenda notices the crazily-grinning whirling dervish next to me and exclaims "Is that woman FLIPPING YOU OFF?"
"Of course," I reply in the monotone of one who has lived a thousand years too long.
I sigh. "Because I said Jew and Black."
The woman finishes up her war dance, and with one last violent finger thrust that leaves nothing to the imagination, exits the aisle. I give her a sincere, non-ironic peace sign.
Brenda, still shocked, describes the happenings via cell phone to our Litigous Friend. Referring back to Asshole Lawyer at the party, she loudly jokes about "those fucking Obama voters."
Just as a large black man pushes past us in the aisle.
I stare at Brenda. She puts down the unoffending Santa plates, and we quickly remove our totally offensive and unwanted presence from the Dollar Store.
The large black man trails behind us for half a block.
Back in the safety of our white SUV, we decide maybe we should stop at Rite Aid for plates instead.
Still aghast and unable to process me being cursed out by a misinformed, nosy stranger, Brenda exclaims "That would NEVER happen in New York. In New York people mind their own business."
I inform her how many times it happened to me in the Czech Republic.
As she turns on the car, Brenda throws me a forlorn look. "Do you have to cause controversy EVERYWHERE you go?"
Yes. Yes I do. My very unclassifiable EXISTENCE on this unironic, simple planet of ours is controversial.
By the way, my lost tribe made karmic peace with me not a week later. Three gorgeously plain teen girls in black grabbed my arm on swanky Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills. As I mumbled my usual "I don't have any money" they laughed joyfully and said, "Yes, but you ARE Jewish?"
Not getting into the medium long explanation of I'm a German Jew Wallenberg, but the bloodline is on my dad's side therefor I'm only Jewish to bigots and Nazis I replied my standard, quickest truth that most helps the underdogs on this planet: "Yes I am. I've never practiced."
With beautific smiles they handed me a candle kit, explaining that they were asking Jewish women to light it Friday nights for peace.
Let me tell you, that candle emits a lovely glow.
My LONG explanation of whether or not I'm Jewish goes like this:
"Well, I'm a Wallenberg, but the bloodline is on my dad's side therefor I'm only Jewish to bigots and Nazis and not to those who qualify you for a free Birthright Israel trip or JDate, dammit, and I've never been in a temple because when my father's family moved from San Francisco to Oregon in the 1930s there were no temples within 200 miles, so my grandmother inexplicably co-founded a Unitarian church and my father was raised there. And though he's searched a half-dozen religions in his life for a home, including Catholicism, Buddhism, EST, The Men's Movement, and Wicca, it never occurred to him to try Judaism. Oh, me? I'm an ex-Catholic who totally wanted to be a nun, but I left parochial school in sixth grade because I read MISTS OF AVALON and became a feminist pagan. I had a couple semesters with a Santeria priestess in college and once was accidentally baptized as a Daoist when my Jewish friends took me to temple and it was actually THAT kind of temple not TEMPLE, and they were recruiting converts for Master Cho who gave me the secret words and begged me to learn to speak Chinese so I could proselytize the movement in America. Oh, and I was asked by the Fellowship of Isis to become a Priestess of Bast which was odd because they didn't even know about my Catwoman thesis in grad school. But I'm now agnostic because of the car accident with that drunk driver that ruined my life that I blame God/Goddess/All That Is for unfairly causing when all I'd ever done is devoted my life to helping people through mass media. Thanks for asking! I don't know why people always run away from me screaming when I talk about religion."