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Day 7 – Waiting… and the Racist Old Man

I dropped my car off at the Hyundai dealership this morning to see if they can resolve the “door ajar” issue. They said they would squeeze me in as soon as they can, but with no sort of timeline I am stuck in Eugene for the moment. When I was dropping off the car I met a seemingly nice old man named Harrold who works at the dealership prepping cars for repair (installing the paper floormats, taking down the vin number, etc.). As I was gathering a few items from my car and preparing to stroll around the industrial wasteland of a neighborhood surrounding the dealership, Harrold came out to prep my car and struck up a conversation. He had heard me say that I was from San Diego, and mentioned that he used to live in L.A. I said I was sorry to hear that (I don’t think he really got the joke), he then added that it was back in the 30’s that he lived there and that it was much different back then. He told me how he played baseball, and was supposed to play for the Padres, but got drafted and sent to fight in the war. He was injured and and discharged from the military as permanently disabled. He went on to share (and this is where things got kind of interesting) how when he lived in L.A., he lived in the “whites only” area, and made a point of mentioning that it was an all white area for 7 miles around and that the colored neighborhood was quite far away and that “there really weren’t that many of them anyways..” He continued with his story telling me how his high school had 7,000 students and that it was also all white (I started seeing a trend in his line of thinking). “Things sure have changed a lot, it’s really difficult for me and my wife to deal with” he added. At this point I was a bit flustered. I understand that he grew up in a much different era than I did, and that he had seen and been through things that I (thankfully) could not even begin to imagine; however, I had to stop and ask myself how to best handle this sort of situation. I opted to just smile and nod, then bid him a good day and be on my way, but as I walked to find some breakfast it kept nagging at me. I understand that his understanding of the world differs quite greatly from mine, but I feel as though, by not stating my disagreement with his blatant racism, that I am somehow agreeing with him and allowing the cycle to continue. I’m not going to say anything to him when I go back to get my car, but I have a feeling that that conversation will stick with me for some time. It really goes to show you just how much things have changed over the years. I should ask him what he thinks of Obama! haha..

Oh yeah, I completely forgot the crown jewel of this story, Harrold totally rocks a little Hitler moustache.. Ahhh man, people never cease to amaze me…

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