There's this cute little dairy just over the border here into Washington that is owned by Ed & Aileen. They call it Edaleen's and it is a favourite stop for ice cream for anyone travelling through this border crossing. And us Canadian locals use it for our milk and cheese, because the prices are much better than our own.
I was standing in line there today. There's always huge lineups because of its popularity. And the woman in front of me ordered 4 ice creams, along with her milk. Which would normally be fine, except that on this particular day, it kinda irked me. They don't have a staff member whose sole job it is to scoop the ice cream cones. So, the cashiers have to go back and forth between the ice cream and the tills. I purposely chose the checkout at the other side of the store, as far away from the ice cream as possible in order to avoid this. The cashier left her post at the till, apologizing to me and saying she'll be back soon, and headed off to the ice cream freezers.
I left S.Rube and T.Rube asleep in the car (that'll be for Friday's discussion....) and the long wait was already making me antsy. This call for ice cream made me antsier.
I kinda smiled to the woman behind me and shook my head a bit, sending the message that I was annoyed by their process here and by my wait. She was an older woman, born sometime in the decade between my grandmother and my mom, I am guessing. She saw my effort to communicate to her and said, with disdain:
"I know. Why don't they just buy the whole cow??"
I knew who and what she was referring to instantly. Because I noticed it when I pulled up. And I saw it again at that time all around me. But, I still couldn't believe that she said it.
(There were Indian people all around us buying milk. And not just a few litres for the family - like, 40 or 50 4L jugs, filling 4 shopping carts and the entire backs of vans. It was evident ( to me!) that they were buying for resale, to sell at their small corner stores, back in Canada.)
I smiled and said, "Oh, well, I'm sure they do that too."
I'm not sure what I meant by that exactly, but that's what came out at the time. I think I pictured our half cow cut up into neat bundles in our freezer. But, I realize now that the cow is sacred in India. Do Indian people eat beef?
They sure buy milk.
I waited a few minutes and then smiled at her again and said, "They really should have someone else scooping the ice cream."
And then she said, again, with disgust, "I know. They might as well just buy the whole cow." Okay, obviously this woman isn't able to move past the fact that the Indian people were all buying a lot of milk. You could sense that something about this irked her. You could sense that just about anything these people did would irk her.
I didn't know what to say. I wanted to say something about her racism and her belief that I would feel the same way she does because I'm white too. I wanted to tell her that I don't tolerate racial remarks or that she shouldn't say that stuff, particularly out loud to strangers.
Fortunately the cashier came back at that point and I was able to pay for my milk and cheese curds. I didn't order ice cream.