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Alethea & Athena
13th-Jan-2017 05:16 pm
Back when we were heading up north to visit family for Christmas, our bus arrived at the train station early, and our train was running late. So we had a lot of time to sit and hang out while we waited to continue our journey. Meanwhile, other buses were still arriving, so people were constantly coming into the station. As we sat there in our matching jackets, one woman came into the station, noticed us, and smiled. Pleased, I commented to Athena about how we can make people happier just by being around. And Athena responded, "Yeah, until one of us opens her mouth."

The truth of her statement was illustrated a little while later, after the train arrived. The station attendants had told us repeatedly over the PA system that when the train got there, we would have to wait for all the passengers to get off, then give them about fifteen minutes to clean the train before they let us on. Nevertheless, there had been a mass exodus from the station, and it was making us a little eager to get close to the train, too. So we went outside, looked around, and found a place we figured it would be okay to stand around without bothering anybody. As we made our way over there, I said, "We'll just go stand over here, out of the way."

The problem is I paused before I said, "Out of the way," so it didn't sound like it was part of another thought when it came out. And one of the station attendants, who happened to be passing by right at the moment of the pause, apologized and quickened her pace. But I wasn't telling her to get out of the way--I was talking about how I wanted to make sure I was out of the way. And thus we see my penchant for accidentally acting extremely entitled and very much a whatever -ist you can think of. I am the queen of unintentional microaggressions.

Let me refer you to example number 2. We were at the grocery store. I don't remember if it was an especially crowded day or not, but the point is, we were following our usual route through the store and turned to go into an aisle. I saw a family in the aisle and turned around, saying, "We'll just go to a different aisle." We don't like shopping in aisles with other people in them. Call it an introvert thing, call it a personal space thing, call it shyness, call it whatever you want, but generally if there's even one other person in an aisle at the grocery store, we prefer to wait for them to finish and come back later, so none of us will get in each other's way. But I really should have not said anything as we left, because I realized after I said it that the family was black. I can promise you up and down that I would have had the same reaction if it was a bunch of white people, but they don't know that. All I can do is hope they didn't hear me, or hope that if they did it didn't ruin their day. Maybe they have similar personal space issues, and so understood the real reason I said what I did.

Of course, there are other times when I think it would really count as not just a microagression, but a downright insult. Observe example number 3.

We'd just finished another day at Disneyland with Gaston, and for whatever reason we decided to walk all the way back to the parking lot instead of taking the tram. (It probably had something to do with crowds.) For whatever other reason, we were talking about going slow. This may also have had something to do with the crowds. But Athena said, "At least it's not as slow as our little sister walking home from school." I remembered the absolute frustration we had, when we'd be like a whole block ahead of her and we'd have to stop and wait, and I replied, "Oh my GOSH can anything be so SLOW!" Then we went on to talk about other people who have had a tendency to walk slower than a snail.

And our good, kind friend Gaston waited until we were away from a certain group of people to inform us, "I think that person in the wheelchair thought you were talking about them." Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Thanks for telling us when we could have apologized, Gaston! I totally didn't even see them. I have no idea what this person looked like or how many people were in their group or anything--their existence didn't even register in my mind. ...Of course, that could be considered rude for other reasons, but generally when you're surrounded by a crowd of people, you're not going to notice every single person around you. It's like the "how many waitresses" question in Noragami.

So I guess the moral of the story is to be more aware of the people around you. And also to be forgiving of people when they say stupid stuff...is my humble plea.

Today I'm thankful for my Chip blanket, realizing last night that we weren't out of chocolate after all, the mini Kit-Kats we bought several weeks ago, progress picking up on today's Fire Force edit, and not living in an area with face-eating parasites.
14th-Jan-2017 01:09 am (UTC)
Face-eating parasites? Were those in the latest installment of "Fire Force"?

Speaking of which, I finally got the first volume of "Fire Force" from Barnes & Noble this week and really enjoyed it. I actually liked it a lot better than "Soul Eater," the initial episodes of whose anime I found off-putting because they seemed to largely revolve around the not-so-amusing antics of Blackstar(?), the admittedly pretty powerful kid who kept proclaiming that he was going to be the greatest wizard (or whatever) ever while constantly shooting himself in the foot by doing stupid things and counterproductively trying to show off.

Anyway, as you said in your review, I found the "fire devil" rookie fire soldier protagonist of "Fire Force" much more relatable. After the rather embarrassing experience of reading the first serialized installment of "Soul Eater" in Yen Magazine (which prominently featured an out-of-left-field scene of an improbably well-endowed witch taking a bath covered only by a few strategically-placed clumps of bubble bath) on the subway while sitting next to a woman with a small child, I was also pleased to see that this series appears to have less emphasis on fan service. At least, it did up until the introduction of Tamaki and her literal groper-magnet curse, or whatever it is. At least the fact that her repeatedly winding up with guys' hands plastered to indelicate parts of her anatomy appears to be some kind of magical side effect of her fire-related powers makes this somewhat less annoying than all those harem series where the hapless hero improbably keeps pratfalling into girls dressed only in towels, etc., for no reason whatsoever.

I hope Ohkubo goes into a bit more detail in future volumes about just how second-generation infernals can even exist, since the more common first-generation type usually wind up dead shortly after first bursting into flames. Presumably their previously latent pyrokinetic tendencies had already been passed on to their children before the parents ever displayed any sign of them themselves. The case of the girl who lost both parents to spontaneous combustion and fears that the same thing will happen to her does seem to suggest that infernalness sometimes runs in families.

Incidentally, I thought calling the rampaging spontaneous-combustion victims "infernals" was an inspired choice. It conveys the quasi-demonic possession element of their situation a lot more vividly than any word alluding only to the fact that they're literally on fire.
14th-Jan-2017 02:48 am (UTC)
Yay, Fire Force! Ha ha, no, the face-eating parasites comes from an article we read on Facebook about the City of the Monkey God.

We actually liked Soul Eater a lot, even Black Star, though we admit he's our least favorite of the seven main characters. He's trying to be a ninja, but he can't be stealthy to save his life! It's hilarious!

But anyway, yes, Fire Force...well, actually, I don't remember a whole heck of a lot of fan service in Soul Eater except when Blair is around. Fire Force seems to have less fan service, though, because so far Tamaki is the only Blair equivalent and she stays clothed a lot more. We will warn you that there seems to be at least one instance of naked women in each volume after one so far, but the series is brought to you by the same editors as Negima, Fairy Tail, and Seven Deadly Sins, so.

As far as second- and third-generation Infernals, it doesn't seem to mean "generation" in the heritage sense so much as the new generation iPhone sense. But the Japanese term does mean generation, and is used in both senses as well. Either way, one of the whole reasons the Fire Force exists is to figure out what's causing the spontaneous combustion, so the series is bound to go into it.

Thanks for the compliment about Infernals! We thought it was inspired, too!
14th-Jan-2017 02:55 am (UTC)
Aww... :(
I sure know what you mean about saying stupid stuff and needing forgiveness and grace from others for it. I think I'm at least fairly good at excusing other people's slights and rudeness (intended or not) when I encounter them, but on the other hand I'm not really a target for the kind of micro-aggressions that many have to deal with so I won't claim any particular merit there. Maybe you have an extra risk of being misunderstood (as in the first two examples) since you need to talk between each other about what you're doing. My bad habit (one of them?) is that in walking everywhere at a fast pace, I often notice too late that I probably just cut someone off going through a doorway or busy crossing or whatever...

In any case, the reminder to be aware of people around me is always a good and needed one.

14th-Jan-2017 09:37 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, I also find it to be funny, so I don't let it bother me too much, but I do wish I could have said something to the wheelchair group, because I imagine them feeling bad, and I really didn't want them to. Also fortunately, this kind of thing is what the Atonement is for, and why we keep talking about what a gift it is to be able to repent.
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