There is a black man that works downstairs in our office building's lobby. His name is Steven and he has always been quite friendly with me - to the point that if I see him in one of the restaurants or food courts during our mutual lunch hour, he will make it a point to wave and say hello to me. Which would be lovely indeed if he didn't always call me "boss".
"Hey boss. Good afternoon to you."
"Morning, boss. Have a nice day today."
This I would expect from a shoe-shine boy, but not a grown man that I call by his first name. And as I stated above, the man is black and there has been a history, in our country, of men of color calling white men "boss". My replies of, "Good morning Steven", or "Good afternoon Steven", would seem to fall on deaf ears, but what strikes me is that this man not only knows my first name and refuses to say it (this I know from the occassional utterance of my name), but he knows that saying "boss" chaps my ass and makes me feel awkward. How can I tell? There is a glimmer in his eye, a sheen of mischief and trouble that sparkles at the edges of his vision, watching as I enter the elevator and start my day, knowing that there is not a way I can prove to him my love for the darker races and my belief in man's equality, and shared noble spirit.
The man is a bastard, and an ass, and I've decided to not talk to him anymore.