I am angry.
At the universe.
So I go all innocently into the bookstore to pick up a DVD to watch this Sunday afternoon. There standing listening to a CD with earphones on is a guy. Not just any guy but a guy with (I don't know what the right terminology is ...) severe facial 'differences'. Really, really severe. I work with people who have differences, I am a person with differences, and of course 'every single person is different in their own way' (yada yada yada). So for me to say DIFFERENCE, that's what I mean here.
And my first response. No, not repulsion - though I saw that on the faces of others around me. No, not revulsion - although I saw that on the faces of even more. No, I felt fear.
Freaking. Fracking. Fear.
And it pissed me off. I know the source of the fear. Growing up with fairy tale monsters all ugly and deviant. Growing into movies and television where ugly is sin and evil and loathsome. Being spoon fed a fear of a fellow human being. Being force fed a terror of another living breathing person. Not being strong enough to see these messages as propaganda, not being able enough to thwart their intention, no, me - who bangs on and on about difference and tolerance and all that other stuff that I thought I believed in - I felt an immediate and irrational fear of a guy listening to a CD.
I didn't hear the exchange between him and the clerk as he left. But it was friendly in tone. The guy with a different face smiled a different smile - which only emphasized the difference.
And then he was gone.
No carnage was left behind.
No half devoured children bloodied the floor.
No all he left behind was a roomful of people who didn't deserve his presence.