It’s not that I’m racist or anything but I thought I was meeting with my own kind. It turns out the name I took down was the name of the caller, but the agent I got was Caucasian. I don’t think the surprise registered on my face. If anything, I think he was surprised to see a woman. My name is used for both and by default people expect a man when talking about money. I don’t interact that much with Caucasians, I mean, casually, yes, but I rarely spend an hour on money matters, for example. I have read a book or two by Caucasians. That doesn’t make me an expert but still, I am not totally ignorant of their likes and dislikes.
We skipped the niceties. There was no sense trying to establish commonalities. We had a task at hand and no time to spare. I must say he had a head for numbers and his explanations were clear. He wasn’t trying to impress; he was too young for that. I asked a few questions and he dove into the subject with obvious relish. Money was a passion for him and I sensed I could trust his judgment. I saw how he could have been appreciated amongst his peers. I tried to figure out where he was from from his accent, but frankly I don’t know enough for his upbringing to tell me much. Anyway, he had an open face and engaging smile, so that settled it.
Surprisingly, my dreams that night featured a Caucasian. I suppose being in close proximity for a long period made an impression on me, though I hadn’t given him a second thought during the day. It was an indifferent dream, but obviously my mind was trying to analyze this new data. A respectful interaction with a Caucasian, with no exchange of digs or putdowns. I was always aware of his otherness to me, a little bit more than just dealing with someone of the opposite sex. It’s not a bad thing, just two species sniffing each other, trying to establish the lay of the land.
We had ended the meeting on a friendly note. He had mentioned his firm might follow up with a quick survey and he hoped I had been satisfied with his services. I felt a little smug, thinking my rating could somehow have an impact on his year-end bonus. I wasn’t a big client. He had hinted at his handling way larger sums of money (which was inconsiderate, in retrospect). He was well-dressed, though when he walked me out, I saw he was wearing black sneakers and ill-fitting pants. It made me feel good to think he was not that well off, though I shrug at my coldness as I write these words.
If I am to be frank, the rating I will give him has more to do with my biases than the actual interaction. I may say to myself I am being objective and score him strictly on things that don’t matter just because of something he said or didn’t say. He didn’t ask about my dog when I mentioned him, though my dog is like a son to me. If that isn’t bias, then what is? If it had been my son, he would have given me the courtesy of a question. Irrelevant, I know. Then there is the matter of his age.
The fact is, nowadays most people are younger than I am, but that doesn’t make them any smarter. He did fancy things with his computer, but he wasn’t smug about it. No, he was serious, and I liked that about him. That rating thing is niggling at me. Do I want his kind to advance? Have they not done enough to ruin our world? Will he be any different? What kind of person am I if I judge him by what his forefathers did? What does that make me?
I may just ignore the damn thing.