So I work at a restaurant waiting tables. It's not easy or glamorous or even fun most of the time, but it's half-way decent money and a flexible schedule. Consider it the actor's way.
One of the pluses/minuses of what I do is conversing with all sorts of interesting, weird, moody, gregarious, and comical people. Sometimes it's actually pretty fun. Others it's tedious and frustrating. And every once in a while, an exchange becomes uncomfortable, bordering on offensive.
Today I had one of the uncomfortable versions. This is an exchange I had with a middle-aged white cat who was having lunch with seven of his coworkers:
Dude: Hey, you look like Spike Lee! (Disclaimer: I look nothing like Spike Lee. For one, I'm taller.)
Dude: Yea, you do!
Me: He and I actually went to the same school.
Dude: Well, that must be it! (laughing to his friends)
Me: (big smile) Yup, because everyone that goes to Morehouse looks exactly the same.
(slightly nervous guilty-white-liberal laughter from the table)
Now, I'm not as fiery as I used to be. When I was in my early twenties my temper would flare up when the wind blew. These days I'm usually a little more reserved and selective with my energy. And to be honest, I really hadn't put too much thought or effort into my response. It wasn't until I had walked away and began tending to other things when I realized the gravity of my reply.
I really aced this guy.
I was actually proud of myself. I was able to communicate my distaste for his comment without alienating the rest of his party and find a balance between breath and aggression. And I didn't take it so seriously as to let it ruin my day.
It's fun being quietly militant.