Just. One. Day. (Letter to Myself)

I’m not proud of this, but I admit since I began driving I’ve been known to speed.  Perhaps not as often now as in my youth – mortality weighs heavily upon me these days.  Still, I speed.  And even occasionally blow through an orangey-pink-red light.  And not once have I been pulled over.  Not once.  I have thought I’ve had a few close calls – police or state troopers maybe even seeing my pathetic attempt at slowing down and my break lights coming on.  But I have never been pulled over.

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There was a time when I enjoyed shopping in brick and mortar stores, but now I do most shopping online.  I still hit the last independent bookstore in town, which is too much fun, and I still go to CVS and grocery stores and places like that.  I pride myself on being a highly observant person, and I know that I have never been followed around a store because the clerks thought I might steal something.  Never.

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I live with my parents in a nice house in an upper middle class neighborhood.  It’s the same house we moved to in 1980.  I have never had to wonder if my parents were not shown the very best houses, in the very best neighborhoods, in Bloomington or anywhere else they have owned a home.  I have never had to wonder if they were ultimately charged more for the house than it was worth.

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Sure, I’ve smoked pot, in my college days.  I’m sure the college security guards knew exactly what was going on in those student houses, and same for the local police.  But I was never caught doing it.  I probably never worried about it at all.

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I’ve been out with friends, maybe vacationing, having a good time. I’ve never been asked to leave a place because of my so-called “behavior”.  I’ve never been told I’m acting “too white”.  I’ve never been told I’m making other customers “uncomfortable.”

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I am human like everyone else and yes I’ve gotten shit from people, both known to me and from strangers.  But I’ve never had to wonder if they’re treating me this way because of the color of my skin.  It must be exhausting to have to wonder about this, day in, day out.  It must take a huge emotional and psychological toll on a person.

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This past week I’ve wished for true wizardry in the world, and a chance to be a black person.

Just. One. Day.

A chance to see what it would be like to walk around my town, sit in a park maybe, go to a store, a movie, a restaurant.

Just. One. Day.

How would it feel?

Of course I wish a lot of things for this world, but I would start by wishing for more empathy.  Empathy.

And it would start with me.

Just. One. Day.

Black lives matter.