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This American Life

vignetteWashington Post
We took the same bus in to work every day. She was attractive, intelligent, witty and available, and I would have quickly asked her out had she been black. But she was white, so the move required considerable thought.

I polled my friends. Among the brothers, the consensus was a nonchalant "Why not?" Among the sisters, it lay midway between an apprehensive "Why?" and an anxious "Please don't!"

I asked her out on a Friday date anyway. She liked the dinner, the play and, it seemed, me. On her front stoop, there was an awkward moment as we silently considered what to do next. I pointed out a nearly flat tire on the car in her driveway. She said she'd get her dad to fix it. Ending the small talk, she hugged me, kissed me on the cheek and said goodnight.

Not wanting to appear too eager, I decided to wait until our Monday commute to talk again. She wasn't on the bus, but she called me at work and invited me to join her for coffee.

She took two sips from her latte, then got straight to the point. "My car was taken from my driveway Saturday night. Did you steal it?"

No one said it would be easy to bridge the racial divide.
Michael Crowley