Two girls walk into a pizza parlor.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s kind of late for a school night. They’ve just lost a playoff soccer game. Thoughts turn from how to build an attack, to where can we load up on pizza. As a team, we just want a place to sit and eat and be together.
The internet says the place is open until 10.
It’s almost 9. Only, the person behind the counter asks the girls, are you going to order? We close at 9. The girls tell them the door says 10, and so does the internet. It’s wrong. So are you going to order?
So as the rest of us arrive, we gather in the parking lot to see who else is open. Cici’s is. We circulate the address and see a couple wander toward the pizza parlor doors. They see the open sign, read the hours on the door.
They walk in.
They walk to the counter, and we see them pulling out wallets and looking at the buffet. So we call the restaurant. Another person tells us they’re open until 9:30. We have a hungry soccer team out here, we tell him.
We tell him we were told they close at 9, in a rude way.
He apologizes, says it was a mistake. Come on in, he says. Honestly, this chain sounds more delicious right now than the other. And it’s right here. But some have already headed to the other place, and really, I don’t like girls on my team treated rudely.
Cici’s is clean and well-stocked and besides a snafu with one order (a mom bought my family dinner!), it’s a great experience.
You should call the corporate office, the Cici’s manager suggests when I tell her what happened. I’m apprehensive. We’ve got our pizza, and tables together. The other place missed out on the business. This stuff happens every day in a free market.
There’s another factor in this that might have made it to the news cycle, with words such as “outrage” and “discrimination.” Only, I’m not at all convinced it would be right.
Bound by love for the game
The girls who ventured into the restaurant first? They’re both minorities. Our team’s pretty diverse, just because that’s how our school is. We don’t celebrate it, mostly because we’re bound by our love of the game and that takes precedence.
We’re proud of it, though, and will take up for a sister at the drop of a practice penny.
As I was working on my second (okay, fourth) plate of pie, I looked at the girls who were told no. They’re fine. They’re eating with friends and happy. I didn’t even ask them what race the people who denied them a spot in the other place because it didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter I reminded myself.
I joked that we should have sent two others in first. Two white girls. But even in the joke of it, I tasted how toxic it felt. From a minority perspective, this isn’t easy for us, either. It’s difficult to take our skin tone out of the equation although, for me, I’d love to.
I’m just a man, with dark skin, but 100% human and just here for decent traffic, good pizza and the opportunity to choose generic junk cereal if I so choose.
I thought also how this could have ignited had I called a news outlet with the scoop that two girls – minority girls – walked into a pizza parlor tonight, and …
Who really knows?
Except, it wasn’t like that. That we know. And if you can’t say for sure … you shouldn’t say at all.
We like to make assumptions and believe we know exactly what others have in mind when they treat us a certain way.
What was the girl’s motivation? Did she not like how our girls looked? Their skin tone?
School on their jerseys? Did she have a sick mom/cat/skating video to get home to, and didn’t particularly want to deal with a boatload of buffet chompers like us?
Thing is, she really didn’t say.
We pushed Cici’s close time. They asked us what kinds of pies we wanted and they put them in the oven. Then, as we finished, they doled out boxes for us to take home what was left.
For me? A night with tons of slices? That’s a good night.
No one got hurt. The girl at the first place got to go home a little earlier probably. Our team hung out and killed many pizzas and rescued many others. And the world was spared another story.
Because there wasn’t really a story to tell. Other than the end to another season. A strong showing, in a loss. A take-home haul of pizza that would probably last until morning at least. And a pizza joint that just missed out on the coolest team in town.
Other posts in the A to Z Challenge
A is for Approachable Stranger in Target
B is for Boy without a job
C is for Courtney Wright, guest blogger
E is for Is he EVER going to catch up?