Today an older man made fun of my appearance as I walked along the street in the southern coastal town in which we are vacationing. He was sitting in front of a coffee shop with several other retirees and he pointed at me, calling me “young man,” and making a wisecrack about my beard and hat so that his friends would all get a chuckle. It wasn’t particularly mean-spirited but it hurt my feelings. The difficult part was how flippantly he cracked a joke at the expense of another person just to make himself and his friends have a good time. The ease with which he did it suggested that it was a fairly common practice that he probably didn’t think much about later.
The day before, we were on a delightful eco-tour led by two people, a white man and a woman of color. The guy was funny and gregarious; the lady was warm and engaging. However, multiple times during the tour when it became her turn to speak, the man would quickly interrupt her to divert our attention away to something he wanted to show us. The first time or two felt accidentally rude; the third or fourth time felt like a habit of focusing the attention on himself at her expense. The ease with which he did it suggested that it was a fairly common practice that he probably didn’t think much about later.