In my quest to find something new to blog about, I’ve decided to relate the exciting events of my weekend to you, eager reader, worshipper of this Carlos-centric place.
I work at Austin Community College, but not on Fridays. As a result, my weekend started at 1pm last Thursday. I drove to Universal Title and renewed my expired registration. Feeling motivated, I followed up with a drive to 10 Minute Inspection to get my new inspection sticker squared away. Failed. Emissions was bad, and the urethra holes at Discount Tire had cut off a bent lug and nut on my rear driver’s side tire. I stomped home, and though I passed the shop on the way there, I waited until I was in the safety of a comfortable chair to phone Discount Tire. The manager, Lucas, calmed me down and told me what I needed to do. I scratched the place off my arson list and filed Lucas’ instructions in my catalog of procrastinations.
Roger and I were supposed to meet at Primo 360 at around 5 to wax over the screenplay ideas I was going to impose on him, but he flaked on me. Instead, I took a nap until dark and went to Craig’s with a box of Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit under my arm. Craig and I walked to the Snappy Mart with free hands and came back with him packing a new box of cigarettes and me holding a six pack in each hand (Anchor Steam to start, Lone Star after taste wasn’t an issue). Five of us played Trivial Pursuit with my team, of course, the victors, and I fell asleep on Craig’s dad’s old sofa after 4am.
Much of Friday is lost. And since I’m the only person in this entire universe to remember its history, and I don’t, it’s exactly that: history. I do recall listening to Richard Pryor’s stand up and the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing while alternately strumming my guitar and scowling over a 1000 piece puzzle Gilda and I had started. I was in bed before midnight.
On Saturday, I awoke at 8, phoned my mother to offer her the privilege of cutting off my pony tail and making me look like a man again. She was delighted, and I was delighted, and we had brunch afterwards at Frisco’s with my step-daddy Ronald and sister Michelle. Roger and I finally met up and put down some satisfying plot points to our narcissistic screenplay. The rest of Saturday was spent avoiding friends and listening to more Richard. Once again, in bed early.
I read a little Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West and ate breakfast tacos at Rudy’s on Sunday morning. A girl who works there noticed my haircut and said, “You cut your hair, or all of them, I guess.” I didn’t get what she meant because I’m always in tutor mode, and she was applying number to a non-count noun. She had to repeat herself twice and the lameness of her joke turned her face red. She had changed her hair too, but I didn’t say anything. I wrote for the next few hours at Primo. The baristas there are nice and don’t mind my loitering. So I do. I buy my $2.33 to go coffee and only refill it once, so I’m not a tremendous drag on the weird owner (whose bowl haircut is reminiscent of a giant child and serial rapist). I finally left when I had to pick up my “Little” from Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We watched Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. I laughed more than he did. He hasn’t learned that shouting commentary is violently offensive to me, but he’s only 9, and with my positive influence, he will be meek. I was overjoyed to find that he remembered the names and moves of all the chess pieces I’d introduced him to last Saturday. He didn’t say anything about my hair. After I dropped him off, I went to HEB for minimal groceries. They say you’re not supposed to hit up a grocery store when you’re hungry, but if I don’t, I won’t buy anything. So I did and got some raw ingredients that will eventually rot unless Gilda gets here in time to do something with them. Finished my puzzle, picked my guitar, and put on Catch 22 until I fell asleep, and the TV timed off.
I’m working on not being alone more, but whatever.
Obama said something on Friday that I hoped I wouldn’t hear from him. It wasn’t about foreign policy or the American economy; it was about race. On Friday, a reporter asked him what kind of dog he was bringing to the White House and he lightheartedly said that all the family would find at an animal shelter would be “mutts like me.” Obama avoided almost all talk of race during his campaign, running as an American rather than the first serious black candidate and I’m disappointed that I’m hearing quips about it within days of his election. Jokes about race are funny. I make them all the time and in the same self-deprecating way. I can name a host of general Hispanic characteristics and laugh about them, but when I laugh about them, I’m allowing others to laugh about them too. I’m validating something in my race as undesirable and simultaneously telling others that it is okay to make the same association. I’ve never liked when friends jokingly dismiss my opinions or behavior as “Mexican” (a term that can tragically inspire both pride and shame), and I’ve been the only minority in a white room where inadvertently racist comments got out of control and made me feel not so good. But I created that situation by bringing negative attention to myself. And because of this, I’ve made people feel comfortable enough to insult my culture. They don’t know that it bothers me. How could they? I’m the one that brought it up in the first place. I’m making myself different from them. I’m setting the tone. I’m perpetuating racism. Obama should have never called himself a mutt.
The presidential election is a day away, and though I’ve already voted, I’ve spent a lot of time questioning why exactly I voted for my candidate. It started when an “undecided” coworker and I were waxing politics, and I realized I was voting intuitively, rather than based on political positions. “Okay,” she’d said, “so you trust him, but what about the issues?” I didn’t have an answer. I know the arguments from both parties, and both candidates have effectively shown me how each other’s policies, from health care to warfare, can fail. But I trust one of them, and when he speaks, I listen closely to what he is saying because his intellect commands respect and because I truly feel inspired by his desire to make the United States...good again. He kept his campaign above reckless political smears, striking his opponent on issues instead of focusing on the other man’s wealth of character flaws or sensational political stunts. I trust him because he thought carefully before choosing a person whom he thought would best serve the US as Vice President. He never pounced on his opponents’ verbal slip-ups or feigned righteous outrage when the ugly reality of this country was expressed, and he never insulted my intelligence by twisting words to meet the needs of his argument. These simple things come together to demonstrate a high character and plain goodness that I’ve always looked forward to in one of the most powerful people in the world, and while I’m usually cynical and view politics as shady, self serving, and worst of all, ephemerally unimportant, I’m hopeful for the first time in a long, long time.
I haven’t mentioned the candidate I want to see as President by name, but you know who I’m talking about. The question to ask now is how. How did you know it was one and not the other?