Scene: An open office space, with contemporary furnishing, that ‘facilitates openness and transparency, and breaks down hierarchy.’
Ari looks up from her laptop that has a rainbow decal, as their break approaches. “Man, there were so many incredible super diverse movies last year,” she says.
“Diverse movies?” asks Caleb as he sips on a caramel macchiato with cinnamon.
“Yea, like Get Out or Coco or Crown Heights? Movies that just didn’t feature white people you know,” explains Ari.
“So interesting! I never really thought about that,” responds Caleb.
Cue Ari’s look of curiosity.
“Really? Even after the whole Oscar’s being white thing and all the articles written about it?” asks Ari.
“Call me crazy, but I just don’t see race. I guess I’m just the least racist person here.”
“Oooookay…” says Ari, without missing a beat. “Race is a pretty obvious thing to observe. It’s not like racist to notice race.”
“Huh” giggles Caleb. “Goodness, I had to laugh just now. Because I only see one race…”
And before he can complete, ‘Gak’ intones Mali from the next polished table, with a Kumbaya bobblehead.
He completes his thought nonetheless. “…the human race…”
“I’m not prejudiced okay? I don’t even judge you for being a woman.”
“Umm…I, I, I’m a man Caleb. You know that,” Mali says befuddled.
“No, honestly I just guessed. This is going to sound nuts but I don’t see gender and I don’t see sex. I just see people,” responds Caleb without the slightest hesitation.
The bobblehead begins to tremble more than usual as Mali exerts: “You don’t see how men and women look different?”
“You know, I just see like shapeless blobs walking around….”
“Okay…and if one of those shapeless blobs were pregnant, you would then know that it was a woman.” Sweat trickles down Mali’s left brow.
“To me it could be just like a heavy set man, who has a big watermelon stomach. You know, I’m just like so committed to equality. I’m just a good person,” Caleb continues.
“Unless you are blind, you can tell that people have inherent differences,” Mali says.
“Oh I would not know if I was blind or not because I don’t see disabilities. I’m not a monster,” says Caleb, with a sense of derision.
“So if someone were in a wheelchair, you would not be able to see the wheelchair?” Ari chimes in, after soaking in what was just said.
“I have never seen a wheelchair?” intones Caleb
“What if someone was missing a limb?”
“It’s probably tucked under their behind.”
“If someone were deaf?”
“Talk to them as if they could hear.”
“OK, WHY ARE YOU SO PROUD OF YOURSELF NOW?” asks Mali, as frustrated as the ‘Science Matters’ badge on his bag, next to a printed tantric incantation.
“Maybe you guys don’t get it because maybe I have more experience here on earth than all of you,” Caleb states.
“Experience? We’re all older than you,” Ari reveals.
“I’m sorry. But I don’t see age.”
“OH COME ON…You’re telling me that if there was an old woman and a baby, you would not be able to tell me which one is older? One of them is called an ‘old woman.’ It’s in the name Caleb,” Mali exhales.
“No. Because I believe in equality. And I believe that everyone is the same age,” Caleb says, unaware of his colleague’s rising perspiration and alarmingly increased fidgeting.
“That’s not what equality means. You have two older brothers. Can you please acknowledge that?” Ari asks.
“Yea, and I believe that both women are the same age.”
“Your parents then. How old were they when they had you?” Mali questions.
“I think they are both ageless and every age at the same time.”
“Oh My God! What else can’t you see?”
“Pretty much everything. Baldness for example.”
“So Bruce Willis?”
“Is he bald?” Caleb asks.
“HE IS FAMOUSLY BALD, AND ROCKS HIS AWESOME BALD SHINY HEAD,” Mali’s eyes widen and lips curl.
“I had no idea…” Caleb expresses.
“Caleb, why are you doing this?” asks Ari, leaning back, palms over her face.
“Cause I’m short sighted?”
The writer is an Associate Editor at The Morung Express. Comments can be sent to email@example.com