I have a really bad habit. Okay, I have a lot of really bad habits. But there’s one that bites me in the rear all the time.
My brain is constantly on the run. I see something, which makes me think of something, then something else, and on and on. And then I blurt out my final thought. But nobody else was privy to my whole internal conversation.
Confused? Let me give you an example.
A few years ago, I was with some friends in Denver. There was a big event going on downtown, so a lot of streets were closed. At one point, there were four lanes all trying to merge into one.
Watching the traffic chaos reminded me of my time in Ethiopia–a country where traffic laws are merely suggestions, and lane designations are laughable.
The honking horns and nearly grazed bumpers took me back to the crowded city of Addis Ababa. I remember sitting in our van, knowing with full certainty that if I lived in that crowded city, I would have to walk everywhere. That if I ever had to turn left there, it would take me approximately 17 hours.
So, I turned to my friend, on that crowded street in Denver, and said “You would be great at driving in Ethiopia.”
My friend turned to me, confused, and said, “Why, because I’m black?”
Oh. My. Word. I began stammering, trying to explain my internal monologue, babbling about Ethiopia and traffic and oh dear Lord what have I done.
And that, my friend, is what happens when you blurt out the last line of your internal monologue. Glorious awkwardness with a side of accidental racism.