You remember the good ol’ days? You know, those days. The days that were predictable, fit into the mold. It was the status quo of them days. Made it much easier to handle. Those were the days.
What days do I speak of? You know. Those days.
Ah, yeah. Those days.
I looked in the mirror and saw white skin. Well, really a kind of peachy-colored skin, I guess. But they called me white. And that gave me privileges. Predictable privileges that made things easy and, well, predictable.
When I got on the bus at 7.52 am, I knew what that bus would look like on the inside. Whites up front, blacks in the back. And, you could easily expect a gap of at least a couple of rows between the skin-coloured divide. Heck, even Larry, who was old and blind, could get on a bus and tell you what things looked like. It was easily predictable.
Conversations were predictable up at the front. Conversations were just as predictable at the back, if you ever perked your ears up to hear what was being spoken in the back. And, at times, we might ask those in the back to pipe down, for they were…..in the back.
Those were the days.
It didn’t matter if it was Monday or Thursday or whenever, the scene was set. The bus had been parted colour-wise just like the Red Sea long ago. Your eyes knew what you were gonna see and, so, the scene became easy to predict and deal with.
I remember when this one black lady tried to sit up front one day. I believe here name was Rita or Rosa. Yeah, that was it. Rosa Parks.
She said she was tired. Real tired, and she couldn’t make it to the back of the bus.
Well, all hell broke loose. Literally. I think I saw manifestations of spiritual forces that day that I was not aware existed.
I asked myself, ‘Why would this Rita, no, Rosa, do such a thing? I mean, don’t she know how things work around here. All ya gotta do is look around. There are enough pointers to tell you how things are supposed to go. This is how it is. And it’s just easier that way.’
I looked in the mirror that morning and I was still white. She looked in the mirror that morning and she was still black. The ‘rules’ stated that, when you get on the bus, whites park it in the front, blacks make the trip to the back of the bus. That’s just how it is, how it’s been, and, well, how it should remain, right? That’s the rules ’round here.
But that Ms. Rosa, she had to set something in motion. Actually, I don’t even think she was tryin’ to. She was tired, I suppose. And so, because of lil’ Ms. Rosa, we started seeing some things happen that didn’t usually happen. Some of the rules changed. Some scenery began to change around town, or at least in the that predictable bus. And it no longer mattered if you looked in the mirror and saw white or black skin. That rule had changed. Some religious folk started talking about all people being created equal in God’s sight. I couldn’t get used to it for the longest time. I’d never heard that before. And the scenery around never pointed out equality.
Actually, I remember gettin’ on the bus at 7.52 am a few months later, you know, after them rules had changed. You’d still find the great divide on many buses. The rules had changed, but all the people found it hard to live by the new rules. I guess it’s cause we were so used to the norm of the day. It was confusin’ at times. And it definitely wasn’t predictable any longer.
At different times, there were some blacks that would get on and holler to the back, ‘Hey, come on up here. You can sit up here now.’ Made us all uncomfortable. Some would get off the bus at the next stop because they just couldn’t handle things. Some buses were mainly filled with black people because some of us whites found it hard to blend.
Those were the days. Predictable scenery. The rules were set. Why did things have to change? This is how it was supposed to be. It’s how it had been done since my grandma and grandpa were born. This is how it’s been for longer than that, right? Why the change? Why mess with the how things are?
Those were the days.