Nearby my house I have a pizza restaurant. It's not really old fashioned. They try to distinguish themselves by shaping their pizza in a rectangle shape rather than a circle. I try not to discriminate my pizza on it's form, after all, a stromboli is really the same thing just folded over on itself. For that I consider myself a respectable eater. The restaurant also manages to distinguish itself by shedding the common misconception that all pizza joints are run by sweaty Italians, and instead only hires an entourage of African employees. Although I don't know how they manage to only hire black employee's in a predominantly white neighborhood, I have no qualms with that. More power to them I say. For that I consider myself a respectable person.
So I waltzed into this pizza place and happily ordered an extra-large rectangle pizza for my parents. Quickly I was informed that there was no such thing as an extra-large rectangle pizza, so I improvised and got the next best thing. A large just. So I placed my order and the man at the register said in his thick Nigerian accent, "You know, you are in my class."
I said, "Oh yeah! How's it going?!"
Realizing I had no idea what class he was talking about I decided to ask, "Um, what class is that?"
"Yoga." He replied.
"Oh, yeah! Yoga. What do you think about it?"
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Pretty good."
"Yeah," I replied, "I like it. Although I have no idea what's going on."
"Yes, I missed the first class," he responded.
"Me too!" I said. "Well hopefully, we'll be able to catch up."
So I paid my bill and walked around while I waited. It was good having a new Nigerian friend. I could say hi to him in class. Nod to him when I saw him outside. Copy his homework. Make inappropriate jokes and say, "Hey, it's cool, I know a Nigerian." Everything was coming up Newcott.
So when I returned to pick up my pizza I found him sitting down in front of the register. Deciding that I should take our friendship to the next level, I attempted to exchange names.
"So what's your name?" I asked.
Realizing I was talking to him, he looked up at me with a somewhat perplexed look.
For a second I thought, wait a second. Somethings different here. Then from behind me, at the register, I heard a voice say, "I'm over here."
Turning around, I was face to face with my actual Nigerian friend, and realizing I had just mixed up two black people purely based on their color of skin, my mind began racing. Briefly, I considered saying, "Yeah. I know. I was just facing the other direction to look cool." But I couldn't. Instead I just said, "Oh, sorry man. It's crazy in here. So what's your name?"
He lifted his name tag. I honestly can't quite remember what it said, only that was something similar to Fromage, the French word for cheeze.
He handed me the pizza and cheerfully said, "I switched class periods for Yoga but I am sure I will see you on campus."
"Yeah, totally, thanks man." I replied as I tucked the pizza under my arm and shamefully shuffled towards the door.