Can’t always be nice


It’s 1:11 AM and I can’t sleep. I’ve been on Twitter for a while and that it’s not working so I decided to post a blog. For some reason, I remembered this situation that I am going to share with you. A few years ago I was at work in the office. It’s a remote site that is rented space in a larger building. Because of this you have a mixed bag of people working there. This office was purely designed for people who live in the area. The reason I’m stressing that is because of where I live. We have a substantial Indian community in this area. By Indian I mean actual Indians from India. There were a few working in this office. I would only go there may be once or twice a week. The remaining time I would work from home. Anyway, there was an Indian woman working there that I would see occasionally in passing. Her desk was behind mine so when she would go to the pantry or elevator or what ever, she would pass my desk. Occasionally we would make eye contact and being the polite person that I am, I would say hello. Initially she would barely respond. I really thought nothing of it and maybe she was not a social person. As time went on I would see her more frequently. Each time I would make some sort of attempt to be social. Never disrespectful in any shape form or fashion. This went on for close to a year before this particular incident occurred that I am about to share with you. One day, as would happen on any other day, she was walking past my desk. I said hello and she said hello and smiled. I was taken aback actually because she never smiled. As fate would have it, not much longer after this, we ran into each other in the pantry. The pantry is a very small area so it kind of forces uncomfortable closeness. I was standing in the entrance waiting for her to finish using the coffee machine. Thinking I needed to break the awkward silence, I made a remark to her that it was nice to see her smile for a change. She gave off this vibe that made me feel like I was pressuring her into something that she was extremely uncomfortable with. So I just kept my mouth shut and waited until she left before using the machine. I thought nothing more of it than just her being her. Later that day I received an email from her. I thought to myself, this is odd. To my shock the email essentially stated that I made her uncomfortable and that she felt insulted. She mentioned something about cultural differences and some other stuff. But the essence of the email was to fuck off and leave her alone. I had a mixed blend of emotional responses to that email. My first was who the fuck do you think you are? The second was what could I have possibly done to evoke such a response? I literally searched my mind for every instance of us speaking and could not find one time where I was rude or out of bounds. My reply was short and simple, I am sorry that you were offended it will not happen again. Mind you, I felt like she was fucking crazy, but being it was in the workplace I had to handle this situation diplomatically. I mentioned this encounter with a friend of mine and their response was that in certain Indian cultures interaction with a woman is frowned upon unless she is a family member or a spouse. My response to that was, she’s in the fucking US. Here we speak to people out of common courtesy. If you can’t deal with that then I suggest you stay wherever the fuck you come from. That statement may sound racist, but I don’t think that’s it at all. If I were in her country I would respect their culture just like I would expect her to respect our culture. If the simple act of saying hello to someone is considered an egregious act then I think you need to live in a fucking cave.

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