There is a chance I might delete this after I finish writing ... D (as editor today) will decide.
Today I had to go to the post office to mail an application for my new passport (even though my passport is still valid for FIVE years ... stupid me for changing my name!!!).
Anyways. When I get there, two post office workers are helping two customers. One of these customers was on his cell phone. (Now to be fair to him when I arrived he'd already discussed what he wanted.) However, I have a huge pet peeve about people talking on cell phones while waiting for any kind of service. It is NOT that important. Know how I know? Because if it were, you wouldn't have time to stand in line!! (Ok there may be some exceptions to this, please don't yell at me if you are an exception.)
Now in order to understand why this was particularly upsetting, I need to tell a quick backstory.
A few years ago, before D and I met, I started to become more Orthodox/observant. I won't go into the reasons why I did and why I no longer am, they are irrelevant here. But as a Jew, and as a former observant Jew, I am very sensitive to how we are perceived. When someone is featured on the news (say for example Bernie Madoff!) who is Jewish, I am affected. I feel like his behavior is attributed to all Jews. And I feel shame.
Ok we're back. Did I forget to mention this kind gentleman in the post office was Orthodox? And speaking in Hebrew? When I walked in he looked around the room to make sure there wasn't anyone there who could understand him. And so he kept talking.
There are many problems with this. First, you should pretty much always assume that someone can understand you! For instance, even though I am far from fluent in Hebrew (seriously, your toddler knows more English than I do Hebrew), I could pick up that he was counting something.
Second, just because I am not "dressed Orthodox" (for a married woman traditionally that would be long skirt, long sleeves and hat/wig) doesn't mean I am not. And it also doesn't mean I'm not Jewish. Or that I just happen to understand what you are saying!!
Third, it is incredibly rude to talk on a cell phone, while being helped, in another language. (In my opinion this just adds insult to injury).
Fourth, I happen to live near a very large Jewish population. I know and am friendly with some Orthodox people who are absolutely lovely. However, I am sure these postal workers have interacted both positively and negatively with Orthodox Jews. And this interaction probably only strengthened his negative opinions of Orthodox Jews. I hate that this happened. And although I don't agree with a potentially negative opinion of an entire group based on a few interactions (to be discussed later), I can understand. And it's difficult.
Now the feisty Sara almost would have made you all proud. I had my cell phone in hand. There was still another woman in front of me so I wasn't about to be called. I almost called my mom (who speaks about as much Hebrew as me) and said "Shalom, Ma shlomech?" (Hi, how are you?) VERY loudly so the guy would hear me.
But I didn't. I chickened out. I didn't want to "start."
Instead, I was just very nice to the postal worker when it was my turn (same guy).
What would you have done??