Random Brain Dumping

Musings and observations about life

I believe the Alabama women

The ad said, “Wanted: Help at record store. No experience required.”

As a teenager, I couldn’t imagine a better job than working at a record store. My family had a record player, rarely used except for an occasional Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles, Moms Mabley or Pearl Bailey record. (Moms Mabley only when my folks thought we were asleep.)

At that point in my life, I owned no records, and would love to have worked at a store where I could buy my first one. Probably something by the Commodores or Manhattans or Aretha or Diana or Earth, Wind and Fire.

The ad said to apply in person and gave an address downtown. I caught the bus after school and headed to the store.

Record after record, album after album greeted me. This certainly would be the place for me.

A girl or a woman (not sure) asked if she could help me, and I told her I wanted to apply for the job advertised in the newspaper.

She directed me to the owner, a light brown man with a chunky build, curly hair and a shiny face. He ushered me to a raised open area at the back of the record store, surrounded by record shelving, and had me sit next to his paper-filled desk, facing him.

His words after that, I don’t recall. I’m sure he asked such things as why I wanted to work at the store and about my experience. That part’s a blur.

What I do recall is that he leaned toward me at one point, placed his hand on my upper arm and with his thumb, rubbed the side of my breast.child sexual abuse word cloud

I stiffened and inwardly screamed. I can’t remember if I pulled away instantly, but I do remember that I ultimately left the record store, my hopes of owning my first album dashed and my self-esteem shattered.

I didn’t tell my parents or any other adult. I don’t think I slept that night, either. I felt ashamed and defeated.

Why me? Had he touched the other girls in the store the same way? Surely not. Had I worn something that had given the man the idea that he could touch me? Did he misinterpret a smile as being flirtatious? Had I said something during the interview that he interpreted as an opening for this touch?

The next day at school, however, I told some classmates. One of them had applied for the same job and had had the same experience with the same chunky, curly haired, shiny-faced slime ball.

She said she hadn’t told her parents, either. She hadn’t gone back to the store, either.

That was that. End of discussion. Neither of us reported the man to police, and only the record store owner knows how many other girls he touched inappropriately.

Why talk about this now?

Frankly, I had buried the memory so deeply in my mind until recently. Until a former judge in Alabama who’s running for the Senate was accused of inappropriately touching teenage girls decades ago. Many have wondered why those women are speaking up now, and some have accused the women of lying.

It’s hard enough being a teenager subjected to normal teenage things: pimples, puberty, peer pressure. It’s quite another to have an adult impose on an already vulnerable child. Self-esteem can be severely damaged by such an imposition.

I believe them, the Alabama women. A man with power approached them and may have behaved inappropriately with them.

I believe them because a man with power, albeit not a judge or lawyer, behaved inappropriately toward me and at least one other girl, and we didn’t tell anyone who could have done anything about it.

Besides, who would believe a teenage girl over a powerful man?

#metoo

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December 9, 2017 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | | Leave a comment

Why don’t we trust our eyes?

Here’s my question: Why is it we don’t trust our eyes?

By now, you may know that at Sunday’s Oscar’s, Warren Beatty hesitated after opening the envelope for the Best Picture recipient. He looked at the card and then inside the envelope again. He looked at Faye Dunaway, began to say, “And the Best Picture goes to” and then handed the card to Faye Dunaway. Faye Dunaway immediately said, “La La Land.”

Spoiler alert.

Lots of applause, people coming up on stage, making speeches, and then more confusion. Turns out “Moonlight” and not “La La Land” had not won Best Picture.

faye-dunaway-and-warren-beatty

Faye Dunaway reads what’s supposed to be the Best Picture Oscar.

The category was Best Picture, and as beautiful as she may be, as picturesque as she may be, Emma Stone is not a motion picture. Thus she could not be considered for the Best Picture award at the Oscar’s.

 

The mistake was corrected as gracefully as it could have been. Warren Beatty later said the card had Emma Stone’s name as Best Actress in a Leading Role, in “La La Land.”

So back to my question: Why is it we don’t trust our eyes? Why don’t we trust what is right in front of our eyes?

Sometimes, that question is literal, as in Warren Beatty’s case. At other times, it’s figurative.

For example, sometimes we wonder why we keep doing the same thing over and over. We wonder why things never change. I would dare say sometimes it’s because we don’t want things to change, and at other times we just don’t see how they will change. We don’t want to see what’s wrong. We don’t have vision.

Man teaching boy to swim

Mahershala Ali, as Juan, in “Moonlight”

Could be that we’re hopeful? We see what’s in front of us, but we don’t want to believe it. I wonder how many people have gotten bitten by a snake because they saw a snake, couldn’t believe it was a snake and ignored the snake.

I wonder how often we stay in a rut because we don’t want to see that we’re actually in a rut.

Maybe in Warren Beatty’s case, he clearly saw that the card said Best Actress Emma Stone for “La La Land” but could not believe his eyes. Maybe he was thinking, “Why does this card say Emma Stone when it should say the name of one of the movies?” So when he hands the card to Faye Dunaway, perhaps he was hoping that what his lying eyes were seeing, hers would see also. Maybe she would notice, and maybe she would mention to someone that the card had the wrong information.

Was he afraid to trust what was right in front of him?

Instead, Faye Dunaway glanced down and saw the part of the card that said “La La Land,” which was the name of a movie eligible for the Best Picture Oscar. Warren Beatty got no validation that what he had seen was an error.

Have you ever turned to someone for validation or for unspoken support of what you knew to be something wrong? Did you get what you were looking for?

You knew that what you were seeing was wrong but yet no one else accepted the wrong as a wrong. Did you stand up and say, “This is not right?” Did you go along knowing that what others saw as right was really wrong?

What about now? Do you question things that do not seem quite right, things your gut checks as wrong, or do you still just go with the flow?

Seems like this should be clear-cut. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, even when your eyes and those around you try to trick you into believing otherwise.

The real question is “What are you going to do about the trickery?”

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , , , , | Leave a comment

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