My former neighbor’s and my apartments were so far apart that we had separate stairs to our units. The only thing that connected us was a long walkway, but we never had reason to cross each other’s doorsteps.
One afternoon, my older son and one of his buddies came by to visit. Let’s call the friend “Noah”. Not that I have to qualify Noah or any black person AT ALL, but because it’s important to the story, I’ll share that he was/is a smart, accomplished, polite, tender-hearted, guy, eager to share stories about juggling his work on the Obama campaign, schoolwork, his girlfriend, etc.
At one point during our visit, Noah stepped outside to take a phone call from his girlfriend. After a few minutes, he came back inside, clearly shaken up. He shared what happened: my neighbor was entering his apartment, but when he saw Noah, he walked all the way over to my apartment and confronted him in the middle of his phone conversation.
My neighbor didn’t introduce himself. Instead, he demanded to know what Noah was doing there. Noah, being Noah, introduced himself, reached out to shake my neighbor’s hand, and addressed him with “Sir”, which he always does with older people.
My neighbor’s response to the word “Sir” was to ignore Noah’s handshake, point toward the street, and tell Noah to “get out of here with that jive talk.”
Fortunately, it wasn’t Noah’s style to confront him. Instead, he came inside, told me what happened, and I went to speak to my neighbor. I won’t go into all of the details, other than to say he spewed that phrase “jive talk” again.
-- Marissa Land