Notes from Cafe Rozella
A customer walks into Cafe Rozella and before I have chance to say anything he blurts out, “so, how many times have you been robbed?” I stuttered, “What?” He replied, “This is such a dangerous neighborhood, you must be robbed all the time.” I got his order and looked him over: silk pants, expensive sport shirt, Italian loafers — looked like a salesman. “None,” I replied.
Ruminating for a minute, I said, “actually this is a very safe neighborhood. Crime statistics show this is much safer than most other urban Seattle neighborhoods.” Yeah, but you have so many creeps around here… blah, blah, blah… he stammered on.
“Where do you live?” I asked him. “White Center,” he said with a laugh. When he saw that I wasn’t in on his joke, he mentioned the very same neighborhood that I live in. Now, I could clue this fool in, but I knew that he had a bagful of prejudices and preconceptions that no amount of small conversation would alter.
I thought about all the Rozella regulars who make this their second home: tradespeople, programmers, biotech scientists, teachers, counselors, government workers, students, writers and artists. Does this guy have a clue about the richness and diversity in this community? I’ll admit that, as with any urban neighborhood, there are a fair number of street alcoholics who wander around like extras in the Blade-Runner movie. But what of all the families walking to buy groceries at the Asian and Latin American markets? Are they invisible? Only to those too blind to see.
My dad was a mechanic and hence I relate well to people who do the complex jobs known as the trades. God has a special place for the grace of those who work with their hands. I love these people and they represent the best of our community. And what of the artists who struggle to fulfill a vision — that takes courage.
All this went through my mind from that small exchange. And the guy didn’t even leave a tip.
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