Last week sometime I was riding the Light Rail to work, headphones on and knitting away, when a nicely-dressed middle-aged woman grinned pleasantly, leaned in and said something to me on the way to the door for her stop.
She said, "There are three *******s on the train."
Now, what *I* heard through my music was an ethnic slur beginning with the letter "n" and rhyming with "chiggers." I was *so shocked* by the fact that it appeared this woman had just offhandedly slurred half the people on the train (Minneapolis is more multi-racial than one would think, and we had just passed the stop in the Somali neighborhood) that I just stared at her for a second, slack-jawed, before pulling myself together enough to say "excuse me?" as neutrally as possible, all the while readying a response.
She repeated herself and elaborated:
"There are three knitters on the train. *I* was knitting, and that woman (pointing) is knitting, and you are knitting."
I made about 30 seconds of polite conversation before she got off at her stop. I hope it was polite, at least--I have no idea what I said. I was *so close* to telling that poor woman off, and she was just trying to say something nice about knitting.