It's been bothering me.
An acquaintance of ours has acquired a building. When I saw him, I congratulated him on his purchase, and asked him what he was going to do with it. He said that he was going to turn it into apartments. "Great idea," I told him, "because really there is a shortage of good housing here." That's the truth. There are a lot of folks who buy buildings and put no money into them, and just let them rot down around peoples ears while squeezing every bit of money they can out of the tenants. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times...'Don't fix a rental up too nicely. It will just get trashed.' Nice rentals are few and far between. This fellow agreed, and talked about the fact that his apartments will be upscale. I commented that having a washer and dryer on premise was a big deal for our tenants. As I poured my coffee, I said, "I could not believe how many calls we got on our last apartment. A tiny little efficiency, but people were begging to move in, with their significant others, in some cases with a child or two, and once, two adults, a child and a coon hound." Much to my shock, the gentleman began to mock the caliber of tenants that he had come to look at his apartment, admitting he was stereotyping, but making fun of their bad teeth, making fun of the way they spoke, etc. I didn't know what to do so I stood stupidly in my place and said nothing.
I think of our tenants. The one with bad teeth is my daughter. All of them have had some real rough times. But they are good people, despite these struggles. They pay their rent on time. They tell us how lucky they are. We tell them how lucky we are. We feel a big responsibility to them. They are loyal to us. We can trust them. One of them even went out and bought a lawn mower to keep our grass mowed. He likes yardwork, bless his heart. The antique library table in the front hall is decorated for the seaon by our Laura, and she waters the palm tree.
I look at this man going on, sarcastically, mockingly. He was not raised in wealth. He has been lucky in life, and is busy in our church.
Now, two days later, I am still bothered by this conversation. I keep telling myself that I would have been bothered by that conversation even if it had taken place in a McDonalds. It didn't though. It took place in Sunday School and that is bugging the crap out of me.
Know what else? My own silence shames me.