“Hey Jay! You were right man, he ain’t no fuckin’ Muslim!”
That’s what my new friend James, shouting at his brother about me as he walked toward the door to go outside for a dart. This may seem out of context, and it was for everyother person in the bar; including his brother Jay. Unlike the folks in the bar however, I can fill you in on the scoop. it all started about an hour ago….
It was early Sunday morning at Josie’s River Queen. One of the bars on the electric Mcgregor mainstreet. I heard the bartender from the night before say that all of the teachers went to the River Queen after they left the bar. Obviously, I didnt think they would be there the next morning, however I was hoping to find a slightly younger demographic to watch football with.
No luck on the shift in demographics; except for the bartender, whom was also a young wanderer, but Nicole is a tale for another time. We are here to talk about James.
I’m sitting here, watching the game and eating my pizza. Other than randomly bullshitting with nicole when she came around, I was just minding my own business. I’m staring at the screen, and after a few seconds of watching James stare at me through my peripherals, I turned to my left to say hello, and see if he needed anything specifically, or if he was just fascinated.
The sounds of the T.V, and random chatter muffled James’ low voice tone and slightly slurred speech, causing me to move in closer, and corralling me into conversation. After a few minutes of chit-chat, James made a confession to me. Apparently, my initial presents in the bar made him uneasy… because he thought I was a muslim. Keep in mind, James now thinks I’m not muslim, not because he asked, but because I don’t have an accent.
He continued to tell me that his brother Jay, acting as a voice of reason, suggested he might be a tad outta bounds with that one, and jumping to a few conclusions. Among those conclusions was that I may not even be a muslim. I don’t think James was ready to tackle the other conclusion he was jumping to; that even if I were Muslim, keeping to myself, in your local bar… well, so the fuck what?
I’m well aware that my skin tone is a shade of ambiguous brown®, and my road trip beard puts a middle eastern twist on things. People are always curious, so I’m used to it, I guess. Most wonder, and some come out and ask. The Majority of interactions are harmless in intent, and stem from general curiosity, I’m a curious person, I get it.
I’m not offended for being mistaken as a muslim, or any other ethnicity for that matter. I was vexed in the next moment because the most offensive part of our interaction thus far, was his apology for pre judging me. It was a redeeming gesture because he chose to come talk to me instead of stewing in his own ignorance. Bravo!
That was a big thing James did there… but…. he wasn’t apologizing for misjudging my character, He was apologizing for misjudging my ethnicity. It’s not like James came over saying “hey man, I gotta be honest, when I saw you sitting over here, I thought you were a dick head, but after talking to you, you’re a pretty alright dude!” No, no, James was like “Hey man, I misjudged you, I was mad because I thought you were a muslim but your something else, boy is my face red!”
I’m well aware that I can walk away from this situation at any time, but as I stated earlier, I’m a curious person, I just need to know more about James! Not including racism, James and I actually share a lot in common. amateur photography is one of them, and upon whipping out his phone to show me his work, I noticed a rather large, and naked woman on his home screen. No judgment for taste in women, love who you want to, it just caught me off guard! the first few pics in his photo gallery were similar.
As I’m trying to process the ride James is about to bring me on, and also assessing the choices I make in life, James looks up from scrolling and says, “pay no attention to my love for fat pussy, that’s not what I want to show you.” It hasn’t happened yet, but I’d have to say that an offer to watch porn, with a stranger, at the bar, on a sunday morning, is a moment I’m comfortable walking away from!
The conversation went surprisingly normal for a while. We had intelligent conversations about art and philosophy, two things I pre judged James about. It’s not like I looked at him, and thought to myself, “yea right buddy, let’s talk about the paradigm of reality. pshh, this guy!” But if you had pointed to James and asked me to have an intelligent conversation with that guy, I would have been like “yea right, buddy, let’s go talk to that guy about the paradigm of reality! Pshh, this guy!”
James was just as surprised to discover my intelligence. I kept it to myself, but James let me know by calling back to what his brother Jay said to him, and how glad he was that he stepped out of his comfort zone to come talk to me. Now, on the surface it’s bordering offencive again because, why are you so surprised I’m not a moron? I had to look within, because I to, took him, for a moran at face value.
“Hey Jay, you were right, man he ain’t no fuckin’ muslim!” Jay was walking toward the door, to go outside for a dart. All eyes were on James as he shouted to Jay from close range. Jay looked embarrassed, but no stranger to feeling that way around his brother. Jay was the younger of the two, but kind of his older brothers keeper. James was the Fredo of the family.
We Joined Jay for darts, and I began to understand their dynamic a little more clearly. Jay would step in whenever it looked like James was about to wonder off sides. James would apologize for his “hangover-brain” and lack of filter(been there), then explain how Jay tries to teach him how to function in society like a normal person. Cheers to Jay, not all heroes wear capes.
I learned a lot about perspective in Mcgregor. James lived the vagabond life for years, following bands, going to music festivals, and smoking doobies with rock n’ roll musicians. Now he drives a truck so he can travel and take pictures. He’s also a drunk, and and an involuntary racist, but he’s working on it. (the racism, not the alcoholism… priorities)
Jay did some traveling of his own back in the day. He had dreams of heading to the west coast and pursuing a skateboarding career. procrastination, kids, and inevitably age stood in the way of that but he’s happy.
We all have a tendency to judge others based on what makes sence in our own realities! my goal isn’t to become a river town alcoholic when I settle down, but the rest of it sounded like a successful life, because he lived. If it makes you happy, live your life. Do what you want to do and be who you want to be! Who cares what it looks like to the rest of the world?
UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE A RACIST, TO BE THAT. 1ST, EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY, THEN BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE.
The MuSlIm SuGaR bAbY