Open Ears, Hold Tongue, Count Backwards From 1000 Very Very Slowly

Daphne Macklin
2 min readApr 20, 2017

I got off the bus this afternoon. The woman who had gotten on three stops before was not really my reason for getting off of the bus I was riding. Getting off meant that I would take another route that would come closer to my destination. Getting off the bus would also mean that I would not have clinch my tongue between my teeth as the white lady from Arkansas went on with her diatribe against the Clintons, and how he was a bad governor, didn’t do anything for the people when there was a drought and how the Clinton Foundation was taking money from America’s enemies, our enemies. She was just hoping that Trump would straighten things out once he got his Administration together.

I did not want to get off of the bus. I wanted to get up and confront a strange woman and give her a piece of my mind. She would not have heard me. I’m a Black woman. I could tell from the undertones in her voice that whatever I thought about the Clintons would have no meaning for her. What I might know about the Clintons based on reading rather than listening to Fox News and AM talk radio,would have been completely unpersuasive. On the other hand, I’d just left a counseling session. I could feel my blood pressure rising and whatever sense of calm that I had managed to construct was not ebbing away slowly; it had been sucked out me the way a full sink drains quickly when you run the water and turn on the garbage disposal.

So hit the internal version of the garbage disposal off switch. Imagine the sound of running water, water passing over and through me, and get off at the next bus stop. Just. Get. Off. And do not let yourself give the woman the “salute”.

I missed the bus that would have taken me closer to my destination. It meant a 30 minute wait. 30 minutes to cool down. 30 minutes to try to refocus. 30 minutes to re-establish my equilibrium so that my next experience of overt racism, cable news hysterical blindness and rank stupidity could be tolerated.