Charity

posted Wednesday April 7th, 2010

The girl was struggling with some math.

“Hey,” she finally called to a co-worker, “what’s half of $5.98?”

I knew it was a bad idea to ask the cashier to honor the “buy an adult entree and get a kid meal free deal,” but there were signs everywhere. It seemed weird not to mention it. Annabelle, Sophie and I had made a last minute decision to eat out last night; nothing fancy, just the rundown IHOP around the corner from the house.

We’d had so much fun. (It helps to leave the iPhone in the car.) Giggled way longer than we should have, and now the girls were whipped into a silly frenzy, particularly Sophie, who was running around the near-empty restaurant, Annabelle in hot pursuit.

“Uh, it’s $2.99,” the boy told the girl, and they both laughed. “I’m so retarded,” she announced.

You might be surprised to know that more often than not, I don’t say a word about the R word. But Annabelle was dangerously close to ear-shot when she said it, and I was annoyed.

“Hey, could you please not use that word around my kids?” I asked the girl.

She looked at me, then at Annabelle, then at Sophie, and I watched her expression — nothing, til Sophie. Then pity. (I hate that. Fuck her. She’s the one who works at the crappy IHOP. I don’t need her pity. And Sophie certainly doesn’t.)

“OH! I’m so sorry!” she said, as though she was only sorry because she’d said it in front of Sophie.

She didn’t get it. Not really. Why was I surprised? Why bother?

“Well, you shouldn’t say it in front of any kids,” I said, taking her in, including her name tag. “Particularly since your name is Charity.”

OK, so that wasn’t very, well, charitable. It’s not her fault her mom named her that. But I was pissed.

At least I didn’t say what I really wanted to say.

“Don’t worry about it. Having to ask what half of $5.98 is really is retarded.”

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

3 Responses to “Charity”

  1. I’m with you on the R word, just not 100%. My hackles aren’t as sensitive to that one. Heck, I still struggle with calling not-macho things “gay”, an old habit learned from all my sons.

  2. I’m so fucking tired of this conversation. Really? Grown people using “retarded” and “gay” and “lame” (and others, like “pussy”) as pejoratives, and then daring to defend this behavior? At what point will it become cool for all of us to embrace compassion and maybe a little dignity?

    R

  3. People can be so … inarticulate and limited in expressions! Charity -huh.

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