When Shirley and Britta went to the bathroom together, Shirley didn't look in the mirror to fix her makeup like she usually did. Instead she leaned back against the door -- the only part of the bathroom likely to be free of unpleasant puddles -- and sighed loudly.
"That girl makes me so tired," she said.
Britta was checking her contact lenses and didn't look over. "Who, Annie?"
"I'm not talking about Pierce's feminine side. Of course, Annie."
Britta stopped fiddling with her contact lens, which was a relief. It was just plain disgusting to watch a person's finger disappear into her eye like that. On the other hand, when Britta didn't have her finger in her face, it gave her the freedom to put her hands on her hips and glare at Shirley all judgmentally. It made Shirley want to gouge out her own eyes.
"Shirley, are you sick of Annie because she's Jewish? Because that's awfully unkind and, and unchristian. You should be more open-minded."
What? "No, Britta," said Shirley, in her sweetest voice, emphasizing each of the syllables in Britta's name in the way she knew drove Britta up the wall. "I'm not sick of Annie because she's Jewish, although it's awfully kind of you to think that of me. I said she makes me tired because she does. She's so young and eager and enthusiastic. Sometimes I don't have the energy to cope with it."
Britta's eyes got really big. "Oh! Right! I was just saying that because of the Easter basket thing, not because I think that you would be anti-Semitic because you're, you know. Anything at all! Because there's nothing in particular different about you which might make you more anti-Semitic than anybody else."
There were times, Shirley was sure, that it was worth taunting Britta when she got this way. Worth asking sweetly "Because I’m black? Because I'm Christian? Because I'm divorced?" But if today she didn't have the energy for Annie's enthusiasms, she absolutely didn't have the energy for Britta's weird liberal racism. "If you're worried about someone in group being anti-Semitic, maybe you should take a long look at Pierce," she said, instead of fighting. "You did hear what he was saying when we left, right?"
Britta frowned. "Something about congratulating her people for killing Jesus because it made more room for the 13th level hydro-Buddha? I tried not to listen."
Shirley nodded. It never was a good idea to listen to what Pierce was saying. It usually killed brain cells.