Target Lady

In Texas when you shop at Target or are checking out at the grocery store you will not hear, “May I help you?” or “Did you find everything you needed?” What you will hear every single time is, “You doin’ okay today?” It’s sweet because it focuses on how you’re feeling, not what you’re shopping for. And most people who ask it seem sincere.

Blacks and whites co-exist happily and peacefully here in Texas. We refer to each other as “black” and “white” rather than something more politically correct. I love that.

I was annoyed in the corporate world that I had to say “African American” and not just “black.” In a suburb of Los Angeles in the early 70’s I was in middle school while some lawmaker was trying to figure out race relations and instigated something called bussing. Black inner city kids traveled miles by bus to our suburban schools and white suburban kids traveled miles to inner city schools. My brother Sean was one who was bussed to the inner city while my sisters and I remained in our school. So, I had new black classmates and a gym teacher that semester clever enough to pair each black girl with a white girl and had the black girls teach the white girls to dance. Lucky me. The Bump wasn’t cutting it anymore.

That semester culminated with each black/white pair performing their dance in the gymnasium for the entire student body. It was kind-a like “Dancing with Stars” without any stars or TV cameras, 40 years ago. I don’t remember my partner’s name because we called each other “sister.” Her idea. After she reinvented my approach to movement, she and I choreographed a dramatic dance that highlighted the contrasting color of our skin and we won first prize. Amen, sister, wherever you are!

The first week we lived in Texas I noticed my husband Steve was dropping his clothes on the closet floor after work. He was in a new, high-level stressful job and he was on a learning curve. I was a wreck for my own reasons and that added to his stress. I didn’t nag him about dropping his clothes; I just knew he needed a low to the ground basket to drop them into.

I went to Target and was looking at one basket with a lid and another without trying to decide when a Target employee approached me and said, “You doin’ okay today?” I explained my dilemma, she eyeballed both baskets and delivering excellent customer service said, “Ain’t no man gonna lif dat lid!” Amen, sister.