Manny: Good morning
Wendy: Hood morning
Manny: I’m sure it is a good morning in the hood.
Wendy: Woops. Typo, from the OOB.
Manny: I’m not privy to that hood talk, can you fill me in?
Wendy: OOB is white people’s talk for Old Orchard Beach. This is not to be confused with ODB (Note: the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard from the WuTang Clan)
…and not to be confused with the rap song, OPP by Naughty by Nature, but yeah, after this past week’s trip, I’m down with OOB, except for a few short, journalistic wimp outs on my part…. read on to find out….
Just back from our stay in Maine–as you know from my pre-trip post–the whitest state in this fair nation of ours.
I took my two daughters, and two friends of theirs, sisters, 10 and 12 years old, just like my girls. By the time we finished our three-hour drive from Providence to southern Maine, my daughters had filled the girls in about my blog and that Maine was the whitest state in the U.S.
I wondered aloud with them as we drove down the main strip of t-shirt shops, pizza joints, and ice cream counters, toward our beach digs–The Executive Motel–which was anything but, if I should count the number of black people that I saw during the week. But, we all quickly concluded that the people of color we would see could very well be there on vacation, and not natives, since this honky-tonk locale, complete with boardwalk pier, amusement park, and enough fried food to drown an army, attracted droves of tourists–people from all over New England and beyond, and a lot of folks from Quebec, Canada, to which my friend, Karina, the girls’ Mom, who joined us on the weekend, pointed out, “at least hearing people speak French adds some coolness…” to this kitschy place.
My next thought was to be brave and don a journalist’s cap and do some on-the-spot interviewing of people who I saw in town that were black, and identify first if they were from here, and then ask them some questions about what it’s like to grow up black, to be so in the minority, in a state that is 96.9 % white.
My daughters said that would be okay, as long as I didn’t do it in front of them because they didn’t want to be embarrassed. That didn’t phase me though–seems everything I do these days embarrasses them–singing, car dancing, laughing…
But, I blew my chances–first, at the Rite-Aid counter with the friendly, spunky, glad to be off work in a few minutes, young, black female cashier. Surely, she lived in town, and could fill me in on what it’s like to be black in Maine. But, I wimped out. Put fear in my mind, with sentences that ran through my brain, like, what if I don’t sound credible when talking about my blog and the purpose of the interview, and well, I really haven’t prepared proper interview questions, and so what if I blank out on what to ask her, and what if she thinks I’m racist? Well, she wouldn’t think I’m racist, but, oh well, it’s too late now–got to get the kids back to the motel to swim…., okay, phew, I’m not doing this….
There were a few other times, too, while out walking around that I could have tried to talk with a few folks, but blew it off out of some kind of fear that I concealed as an, oh well, I’m on vacation, I just want to relax and eat french fries, and read mindless magazines, and go to the beach, and people watch, and all–not work.
Perhaps, my best bet is to start preparing some standard interview questions, something I have actually begun to do for some local interviewing here, so that next time I’m travelling, I’ll have some appropriate on-the-road questions for people, and won’t feel flustered going in cold.
Would these kind of interviews interest you? Let me know what you think, and any advice you have to offer, would be much appreciated.