Friday, September 07, 2007
Friday Bud Blogging
There's about five minutes left of Friday in my time zone, so I (and Bud) made it! The past couple of weeks have been an amazing time for me.
I was able to spend a weekend in Jerome, Arizona prior to meeting up with my blogger amigo boran2 in picturesque Sedona. My grandmother was born in Jerome in 1930 to a Mexican mother from Jalisco and Italian father who came to this country via Ellis Island. She chuckled to me a few days ago that their love must've been strong since one spoke Spanish and the other Italian. There are love letters back and forth from them whenever my abuelito was away from home at other mines, my nana has promised to show them to me. I can't wait.
Walking the hillside streets of Jerome was a religious experience for me. Imagining one shoot of my roots doing the same decades prior. I made a visit to the Catholic chapel there, saying prayers alongside my departed ancestors. Looking at the baptismal font, I couldn't suppress the smile, imaging my nana being christened there. Did they know that it would bless a long life of love and service to others? She is a saintly women who lives each day for others with a full heart and miraculous cooking.
This past week I, and my parents, traveled to the San Diego area for a getaway. It was hotter than Hades in SoCal, nearly unbelievable - and that's saying alot coming from this desert dweller. Tuesday morning was eventful, as my alarm clock came in the form of a jolt that made my hotel bed slam against the wall. Apparently there was a 4.0 earthquake somewhere north along the fault. That was exciting.
The highlight of my trip, aside from the quality time with the parentals, of course, was the trek south to Ensenada. It's hard to explain, porque siento en casa cuando voy a la tierra mexicana. The people, the food, the smells, everything deepens my appreciation for the journey of rediscovery I am living everyday.
I've been away from the headlines for awhile, yet politics has never left, because when it's boiled down to its bones, governance is about life and livelihood. Couldn't help but be perturbed at the arrogance of some cruise patrons that walked the streets of Ensenada - treating the vendors and cancioneros like peasants. There's a sickness in U.S. culture and it definitely knows no borders, despite the nativism that runs rampant here.
My Exceptionalist Radar was running full steam ahead by the time we traveled down to Baja California because the day prior, we went over to Coronado Island to log in some beach time and grab some grub. As I was standing in line at a coffee/espresso bar in Coronado Hotel, a few people ended up in line behind me as the guy behind the counter was working on a larger order of drinks for the patron before me. When my turn came up, my father and I walked up to the counter and I overheard two people talking behind us.
Male voice: "Are you all in line?"
Women behind us: "Yeah, we're behind these brown guys"
Needless to say, I was appalled. My blood boiled as I gawked at her in disbelief. Everyone around her looked thoroughly embarrassed but she remained oblivious as she not-so-casually looked away from us.
Right on cue, a queue of toothpicks dropped out of my dad's wallet at the counter as he was getting his cash for our bottles of water (don't ask, he requires toothpicks after every meal and keeps his own stash). The diversion shocked me back out of the moment of surreality and I helped him pick them up instead of causing a scene, which is what I had inhaled to begin when the cascade of toothpicks ensued.
As I told my mom when she was trying to calm me down a half hour later (I was pissed, and the #*$^! disappeared from sight), "It's not right. Period. And what's even more vile is that it's the system that sets up people to live in their arrogant little bubbles of aristocracy."
2007 is no different than ages prior, only the slavery has undergone shiny new names like guest worker programs and the levels of disparity remain tied firmly to the different shades of tierra in a person's skin. It's not right, but it is what it is.
Despite the infraction and indignity of that moment, I told my parents that the thing that has changed with me is that I am no longer shamed by moments like that. There is orgullo - pride - in my veins for who I am and where I come from and no one - not even some white, wide-brimmed, scarf wielding woman of priviledge, nor anyone else will be able to crush that spirit of familia.
There is alot of work to be done in this world, and for every asshole, there is a legion of friends to rely on for solidarity and reciprocal dignity. Dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres