Perhaps I am working too hard. Yesterday after finishing some interviews, I sat down with a cup of coffee in a local Panera store to write up my notes. When I was finished, I packed up my stuff and hit the ladies room before I left. I have been in this Panera store a thousand times, so I was surprised when I walked into the ladies room and thought: "Hey, there used to be 3 stalls in here. Why are there now only two? And when did they add that urinal...?"
Of course the next thought that went flying through my mind was "S***!" and I hightailed it out of there. Thank God no one was in there or it could have been really embarrassing. As it was, there was a group of people seated near the bathrooms who I'm pretty sure saw my blunder, but hard to tell as I avoided direct eye contact with them when I left.
Moving on to more pleasant topics, last night I attended a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at UNCG with civil rights activist Angela Davis as the keynote speaker. In a word, she was brilliant. I wish I had brought pen and paper to take notes. She challenged the notion that racism in our country has improved or receded. "Just because blatant racist laws are taken off the books (I'm paraphrasing) doesn't mean racism still isn't practiced," she said. The problem, as she sees it, is no one wants to admit racism is still as rampant as it is, which makes addressing any aspect of it that much more daunting.
She spent a good amount of time talking about Katrina and guarding ourselves against media manipulation. For example, that poor black people who took diapers and water from stores were called "looters," and white people who did the same were "foraging for necessities." She also implored we not follow the medias lead and consider Katrina related stories old news, but to keep the people still affected in the forefront of our minds.
She is also strongly anti-Bush, which earns her bonus points in my book. I live for the day we get that man out of office.
There were a few things in her talk I didn't agree with or I thought were over simplification of the facts, but for the most part I found myself moved and inspired. And shamed by how small I keep my world. In her 75-minute speech she touched on the U.S., Bolivia, Cuba, Vietnam, Africa, and more. I couldn't even follow half the examples she used from current news. But I do a poor job of keeping current.
If any of you ever have the opportunity to hear Ms. Davis speak, I'd recommend her. Whether you agree with her or not, she is passionate in her beliefs and morals and will give you food for thought.