Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hey there roomie!

Whether it is based on my predisposition to dislike people or not, I seem to have bad luck when it comes to sharing a room or space with people, AKA, "roommates". Each and every time that I've had one, they've always managed to annoy the crap out of me. I am the sum of my experiences, so I guess I'll leave this question up to you to answer.

Is it my problem that I haven't liked all these people, or perhaps I have just been unfortunately paired with crazy people?


My troubles began when I was very young and had to go to camp Y'Shua, a fat camp masquerading as a Christian learning retreat. During the day we would be forced to run a few laps, crank out a few push ups, and throw some frisbees. And dance, we can't forget the dance. I didn't have a roommate really, for all the males shared a big room with wooden bunk beds.

I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and climbed the wooden ladder to my bed to settle down for the night. A counselor came in for a mandatory thirty seconds of prayer, and then the lights went off. I thought it was time to sleep, until...

"Nunnapeeds man."

The voice came from some top bunk in the corner. It was said with such confidence that you could tell he had been waiting all day to say it.

"What do you mean dude?"

"I mean nunnapeeds man, shit, they're here... in the trees. I saw one."

"No shit?"

"For real."

My eyes widened, not because I believed in nunnapeeds, but because I was appalled that a sixth grader was using such language.

"What's a nunnapeed?" A scared voice asked from below me.

"You don't know what a nunnapeed is?"


"You're a lucky bitch. Well I guess you've been one up until now, 'cause I'm fixing to tell you. Nunnapeeds are little people that live in the mountains and trees, they got sharp teeth and sharp claws. They eat babies. I know this 'cause I used to have a little brother, but we took him hiking one day and a damn nunnapeed ran out and took him. We was looking for a long time for him, until I found his body... but the insides had been taken out."

I wondered what business a baby could possibly have in the wilderness. Who takes babies on hikes?

"No shit?"

"No shit."

I really wanted to sleep. There was a shuffling noise from across the room, and a shaky voice said, "I saw one. Today."

"You seen one?"

"I did. He was crawling by the rocks over there... there was blood on his mouth."

Everyone began whispering amongst themselves. The original storyteller, none too happy that someone else had witness a nunnapeed, disputed his claim.

"You didn't see shit, bitch. I lost a baby brother to the nunnapeeds, if you'd-a seen one then you'd be dead."

Then there was silence, and half the people in the room woke up to shaving cream on their faces, no doubt the work of the nunnapeeds.


I had just won a free trip to Washington D.C. because of an essay I had written over conserving energy. All the winners had received letters telling them that they would be sharing a room with two other people during their week long stay in the capital. This all seemed fine with me at the time, but then....

"You see them Mexi-Can maids? Can ya talk to 'em?"

"I can, but it would be rather unprovoked. You don't just randomly approach people and talk to them because they can speak English, do you?"

"I reckon not but that's 'cause I don't speek a for-ran language! If'n I did, then I sure as hell would use it!"

This was the general dialogue I had with my roommates. The essay contest had been for rural students, and I was the first minority they had ever laid eyes upon.

"I'm roomin' with a gen-you-whine Mexi-Can!" I heard one of them say during a phonecall home. "He speaks real Spanish!"

During our week in the capital, my roommates frequently spoke about bombing the mosques they saw near the embassies in order to, "see how they like it!" and liked to play with the idea of shooting the first gay person they saw.

Our group left every morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m., but my good ol' roomies liked to keep me up until 4 a.m. Their methods of doing this varied greatly from day to day. On a good day for me, it would simply be a televised cocktail of NASCAR, ESPN, and E! entertainment. The last one made it to my list of things that I may never understand, right under "Biopolitics and Autonomo-Politics of the body." On my worst nights, though, it would be because they brought some girl back to the room.

"Aw shit I got a pretty lady to fuck with tonight!" One exclaimed after he got off the phone with the pretty lady I just mentioned. It's worth mentioning that this is the same guy who has a girlfriend back home, and who "lead the group in prayer" the next morning. Those nights I would call home to talk to family and friends.

"Why are you calling so late?" my friend asked.

"Because the bumpkin found a hooker."

I eventually took a little bit of revenge, however. My last night in D.C. was approaching, and one of my roommates was on the phone with a potential "pretty lady."

"Alright babe I'll wait." He said, putting the phone down and holding it to his chest,
"Ay amigo!" He said, looking at me. "I wanna tell my lady that she's beautiful in Spanish, how do I do that?"

Had I answered, "mi amor, eres linda", it would mean no sleep for me and another awkward phone call home at 3 a.m. Knowing this, I responded with...

"Eres un puta fea, y tambien un gordita."

"Don't puta mean bitch?"

"No, it's our slang word for a young woman. Use it."


I am so lucky at the University of Oklahoma to have no roommate. However, OU does operate with suite mates... people who share the bathroom that joins the two rooms together. I walked by the door next to my dorm, and noticed that my suite mates were named, "Ian and Gregory."

When I finally met them, I noticed how money was dripping from their every pore. Their room looked like something out of a PB Teen magazine, with letters attached to each decorative item and corresponding prices on the page. The bathroom we shared had already been furnished with mats and scented candles. Not that I minded.

They both spoke with an prep school type accent.

"Well hello there," Ian or maybe Gregory said with what seemed to be great effort, "looks like we'll be sharing a bathroom. Let's go ahead and create a schedule for showers and cleanup time."

"Oh, okay..." I responded.

Then Ian whispered something to Gregory (or maybe vice-versa?),

"Oh, yes. Well, as you can see we have outfitted the bathroom quite well, quite well indeed. We assume you want to contribute as well?"

"Sure..." I said.

"Okay good, could you provide maybe a trashcan for the bathroom? If it's maybe not too much trouble?"

"Sure." I said again.

I already had an extra trashcan because I have no roommate, so I just put a bag over it and set it in the bathroom. I thought it would work just as well as any other trashcan... but then I overheard Greg's (Ian's?!) reaction...

"Wow, he really is poor. You were right. Look at this."

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Tortilla Factory

I was inspired to write this blog because right now, as I sit in my dorm room and listen to the sounds of the frat boys next door, I think of the long path leading up to college....

"Juan Pablo, porfavor guey, take over the tortilla machine for a while I'm getting tired." Ricardo said, removing his clear plastic gloves and tossing them on the counter. The old immigrant from Guanajuato, Mexico and I had a deep mutual respect, because we both knew exactly what it was like to be disrespected. Ricardo's English was very strained, so whenever an angry customer came up to yell and complain about how they had asked for chicken tacos instead of beef, all he could muster was a stupid smile and blissful nodding.

And then there was me, fluent in English but with confidence so low that each time a customer or employee would come to chew me out, all I could do was put on a stupid smile and nod. We weren't the only Hispanics working at Rosa's, no, the boss was Hispanic and spoke Spanish so fast that many times I struggled to keep up with him. There was Armando, an immigrant from Chihuahua, and probably the only other person Ricardo and I could have fun talking to. Mostly though, both in front of and behind the counter, it was a hostile environment.

As opposed to the immigrants who seemed content to get a pay check at the end of the month, most of my fellow employees had a huge complex about doing what they did.

"I was too smart in high school man," one of them told me as I rolled burritos and sprinkled shredded cheese on top of the plate, "I wasn't challenged enough so I dropped out. Shit, I'm making good money here, I don't give a damn when people tell me they're graduating. I just say look, I've got more money than you."

"Yeah, school isn't my thing." Another one told me as I struggled to finish reading The Canterbury Tales while working the register, "see how hard you're working right now doing two things at once? I said to hell with all that, and life got way easier buddy I'm telling you. Take it or leave it."

Then one time when I was working the register and thinking aloud about quitting to do better in my AP courses and to better manage my three clubs of which I was president, the person next to me said:

"If you quit then you're just a quitter at everything you do. I got tons of scholarships for college and worked at the same time, it's just that my dad didn't sign for my scholarships. That's the only thing that kept me back, for real. But you just don't have any ambition or drive at all, do you? If you really wanted it, you would stay."

This really upset me, considering I thought I was a real go-getter for all that I had accomplished at high school. For some reason, I allowed her to maintain her story as true, and accepted her statement that overall, though she was making excuses, she was in fact smarter than me and a harder worker.

My worst night, though, came when I accidentally pissed of an employee named Renee...

"Ey Juan Pablo, you can take off now I gotchu, it looks like you busy." Ricardo said, eying my half filled out application to Duke University and a book off to the side titled Civilizations of the World.

"Muchisimos gracias Ricardo, muchisimos gracias!" I said, ecstatic that I would no longer have to write an essay about an intriguing intellectual endeavor and make guacamole at the same time.

Then, Renee walked in.

"You're not getting off early, hell I wish I could go home but my ass is staying here. Why do you gotta leave?" She asked, turning around from the drive-through window, her ponytail whipping to her back.

"Oh, I have school tomorrow and I have a lot to do." I said, as apologetically as I could.

"You don't need school."

"Well, I think I do... I'm going to college."


"Yeah... I'm not sure which one yet, but I'm leaning towards..."

"Who the hell do you think you are?"

I felt a shock go up my spine, I wasn't sure exactly who the hell I thought I was, but I had always been pretty sure that I was someone who was going to college.

"Let me tell you right now," she said, pointing her finger at me as she spoke, "you're talking big now, but you're ass is going to end up here, I'm positive, I've seen it before. And if you think you're just too good for this place, then I suggest construction, okay hun?"

With that, she returned to her post at the drive-through, "May I take your order?" she asked, her voice doing a 360 from angry to sweet.

I packed up applications and my book and set them down at the register, ready to work until midnight if need be.

"Ey, go home man." Ricardo said, nudging me. "Go home and you do what you gotta do."

And now, I'm fairly sure, that I'm someone who is going to do what I gotta do. Thanks Ricardo, I won't forget it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Friendly Neighborhood Emu

People will often make up their childhood memories only to have them corrected later in life. This is more prevalent in people who didn't grow up with much. By the same token, a parent may try to rewrite history for the sake of making things better.

"Oh, there goes that little horse we used to have." My Lito once said, taking off his glasses and squinting up at an old picture of my aunt standing next to a pony.

"We didn't have no horse!" My aunt declared, "That's from the petting zoo when the circus came to town!"

Lito shrugged, and gave an 'oh well, worth a shot' kind of sigh.

Knowing how history can be so dodgy, I naturally assumed that I was making it all up when I recalled an emu living next door to us. And a warthog. And a pot-bellied pig. We live in the country and have only ever had two neighbors... one was my dad's family, and the other was an old white shack across the street. No one really lived in this shack, rather, people drifted through it.
Vagabonds, you might call them. Gypsies of the Midwest.

In recent history, though, they've all been rather redneckish... setting the lawn ablaze with roman candles on the fourth of July, shooting chickens in the middle of the night, and cursing loudly outside at any ex wife that successfully learns of their whereabouts. You see more of their dogs than you see of them, the mother and her brood are constantly getting loose and roaming freely on the terrain, barking like Cerberus at the gates of the underworld.

When I was little, however, they were most surely the aforementioned gypsies. I remember riding home from school on a day just like any other day, and then looking to my left, experienced the first true 'What the hell?!' moment of my young life. There, behind the barbed wire fence, was an emu. The shock value is increased when you don't know what an emu is in the first place.

It turned out not to be a hallucination, for the very next day the emu was still there. What bothered me the most was that the emu didn't seem to know that it was out of place. It's not natural to see a giant bird indigenous to the Australian outback mingling with cattle, but the emu was totally unaware of this fact. Every once and a while I'd stare out my window to look at it from across the street. Cars would pass by without slowing down, so I can only imagine what they must have thought...

I envisioned many different people and their many different experiences. Like the hot blond girl with her convertible... hair whipping in the wind, radio on full blast, enjoying the pleasant Oklahoma weather... I could see her taking a deep sigh of relaxation as the beautiful country side rolled past her, and then, just as suddenly, as a random emu flashed through her visage.

Or like the business man on his way to a convention in Oklahoma city...

"Yeah, the stock market is really booming right now boy I tell ya... yeah, I'm on my way to the city right now on a lonely country road. Aint nothing like it man, jus' you and the road, like my mama used to tell me.... what the hell is that thing?!"

The unprovoked nature of the emu really made me respect it. No, it didn't give a damn if you thought it was out of place. I liked to think it got some sort of pleasure out of freaking people out. But all good things must come to an end, the emu people packed up and left. In their place, the warthog people came by.

The warthog was nowhere near as enjoyable as the emu had been, for in a matter of weeks, it had broken through its barriers and had run wild on our side of the street. I remember taking the trash out one day, and looking out into the distant countryside, seeing a warthog galloping around with the horses.

Maybe because of the dangerous nature of the warthog, it was predestined that its owners would pack up and leave. At first, I was relieved to see them go... until the pot-bellied pig people showed up. You would think that given its size, this would be the least threatening of the vagabonds' pets, but these particular gypsies had trained the little guy for battle. Though the other ones had been big, this was the only one with a vendetta against us. Within a week of its short stay across the street, it had walked over to our house and trashed the garden. At this point, I was really missing the warthog people.

"Did we really have neighbors with an emu across the street?" I asked my parents one day, wondering if it had indeed all been a fantasy of mine.

I guess I should have known that it was a bit too strange for a kid to have just made it up like that. Some things, I suppose, are so strange that they can only be true.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sketch of Nowhere, America

Sorry for all these serious posts I've been making lately, I'm just in a serious state of mind lately LOL. The funny will be back soon I'm sure... I just felt like writing once again about Cache, Oklahoma... I find something inspiring about its uninspiring-ness.


Here, nowhere and nothing meet. There's a single road that runs through the town, a feed store to the left, trailer houses to the right. A closed down burger shack with boarded up windows sits loftily on a patch of asphalt. Tires rolling on gravel occasionally mingles with the familiar sounds of the doldrums - birds chirping, cicadas hissing, screen doors making their wiry noises, the wind rustling in the trees.

There's a school with a small gym that appears to be made of something akin to aluminum or tin, like a half buried can in the ground. The town square whispers and echoes lackadaisically of what may have been the town's heyday, but now is only a broken down restaurant, a barren cracked sidewalk, an old wooden sign waving ever so slightly with the wind.

A neighborhood street riddled with potholes and chalk drawings, an old man on his front porch rocking back and forth on his chair, staring out. A gas station with two workers in aprons standing out front, smoking. There's a numbing apathy that engulfs the town like a cloudy mist that never dissipates.

It's hard to imagine that any other place exists outside of here, the dust usually hazes out the view, making it hard to look into the distant horizon that may or may not lead to a place that's somewhere else.

In reality, to most of the town's people, there is nothing beyond this place. There is no big city with lights and crowds and skyscrapers. There is no hustle and bustle of any metropolis or any abstraction of ever becoming a part of it. There is no world outside of this all-encompassing purgatory. There exists nothing foreign because here there is only the familiar- each person trapped in a role in a play in a setting that goes on and on and on.

In fact, rarely does a dream roll in with the tumbleweeds in this town that is not put down by the uncaring reality that tears every hope apart with its idleness. There is only here, a town called nowhere, where nothing happens and no one truly lives.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The resiliency of the green field

Before I learned the science behind it, I was fascinated with the fact that after a terrible grass fire a field would grow back twice as green as it was before. I would notice this the most on the ride to Wichita Falls, Texas from Oklahoma. There was always some small grass fire ravaging the crop fields or the grassy plains. Looking at it, it would appear that the field was quite dead. Smoke would be rising from the ground, ashes would be blowing this way and that, and absolutely every square inch would be blackened from the flames.

Yet, after a few weeks, we would drive by the exact same spot and that field would be the greenest one of them all. The grass would grow thicker, the color would be more vibrant, and it would come back twice as strong. This is the resiliency of the green field.

Though it may be burnt and charred to the ground, there's something positive to be found in the fire that sweeps across the plain. There's something in that all-engulfing flame that paves the way for something new and stronger to take place.

In times where it seems that we are losing everything to the fire, that thing which takes away everything and burns it down to its lowest point, we need only have the resiliency of the green field. The ability to become twice the person we were before, after everything in life seems to have been burned away.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Camels and Bananas

"Really, are you even trying to make it look like you're paying attention?!"

My pre-Calculus teacher's shrill, high pitched voice didn't jive well with my morning habits. You see, I'm a self-diagnosed chronic insomniac, and morning people just piss me off. Most days, I wake up hating the world and all who inhabit it. I drag myself to where I need to go, but usually hex everyone around me as I do so.

That particular day, I had been sick the night before. When I get sick, my insomnia gets somewhat worse, and my mom knows I just have to sleep. So, she gives me a sleeping aid when night comes around. However my mom is no pharmacist, and sometimes she gives me something in the morning that she describes as "just a little something to ease the pain." This "something" usually drugs me up so much that I walk into school looking like a coked-out zombie.

That day was one of my coked-out zombie days. I was blinking sensitively beneath the harsh fluorescent lights, holding my hand at the level of my forehead as I squinted to see the board. My head would tilt back and then I would snap to attention suddenly. I think my classmates were more afraid than they were amused.

"Please attempt the word problem JP, okay? That's the only way to get better."

I glared at my math teacher through my squinty, red-veined eyes. My groggy drugged-up thoughts flew around in my head, and then I thought of a book idea. 'I'll write about every bad teacher I've ever had,' I thought, 'yeah, I'll call it The Miseducation of Juan Pablo... has that been done?'

"PLEASE!" Her voice was reaching a shrill fever pitch, like two sparrows battling over a mate.

"OKAY!" I responded, then laughed at my own grumpy voice. Everything is hilarious when your mind is not all there.

I looked at the word problem... and let me tell you, it was a groggy person's worst nightmare:

"A camel makes a journey through a 500 mile desert trading bananas from one city to the other. It must go there and back. It eats one banana every mile, and can leave bananas and come back for them at any given point..."

At first, I was trying to solve the problem, but then my thoughts gravitated to this poor camel that had been selected to perform this thankless task. It made no mention of a travel companion for the camel. If taken literally, it would seem that some evil banana trader had trained this camel to make the journey all by itself and eat a single banana every mile.

"Yup, this is my prize camel." The evil banana trader would say, "I don't even gotta make the trip to the next city, nope, old girl here does it all on her own. Trained her to take one banana out of the sack per mile, I figure she's good for two hundred trips or so. You want to know how I capitalize on her labor? Well, there's a tricky math problem to it..."

I couldn't stop thinking about this camel, alone in the godforsaken desert, somehow trained to feed itself...

"Are you sleeping?!"

"Huh? No!"

It's funny how instincts can make us defend ourselves. Had I been sleeping? Yes. So what was the logic of me saying no? I guess because she had proposed it as a question, and I just wanted to pick the more favorable answer.

"First hour, I swear, always sleeping..."

Then I laid my head back on my desk to resume sympathizing with this poor, poor banana trader's camel, alone on its journey through the desert.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dragon Problem

"What on earth is that?" My third grade teacher asked, snatching a piece of paper from my desk with a winged lizard on it.

"It's a dragon." I said plainly, "Do you see? It's breathing fire."

My stout teacher looked at me as if she had just caught me snorting cocaine off the laminate surface of my desk.

"Oh, I see alright... we'll be having a conference about this. Where do these things come from, huh? How many of these 'dragons' have I got from you this week alone?!"

"Well I like them, and it's not like we're doing anything anyway, right? Look everyone is asleep..."

Pleading my case wasn't getting me anywhere, but I just thought it was worth throwing out there regardless. True, a Catholic school probably wasn't the best place to be drawing fire breathing reptiles with the wings of Satan, but at least I was being productive. At least I wasn't asleep like Michelle or William. I guess it wasn't the right move to critique my teacher's agenda, though...

"I assigned rest time! You'll know when I assign dragon time, okay? Now stop drawing those things! They're a pain! History, science, math, you're always doodling. We're having a conference." With that, she stormed away.

It wasn't her discontentment with me that led me suspect her of being a dragon slayer, rather it was her obvious emotional outburst that one particular day.

'I'm in a special school full of dragon owners,' I thought to myself, 'we're here to be taught that dragons don't exist, and the only way to truly limit our power was to raise us to be priests and nuns.'

My mind was made up. This woman was a dragon slayer, assigned by the government to keep we, the dragon owners, in check. Our memories had been erased at a very young age, but for some reason, something had gone wrong with me... a slip-up on the CIA's part. I was still drawing the figures familiar to me from my earlier years, and she recognized this at once. At the conference, my memory would probably be erased again and I would be transferred to another government-run fake Catholic school where I'll think I was an orphan dropped off in front of the church in a basket with a note attached.

The business end of Sister Herman Mary's ruler obviously hadn't daunted me in kindergarten, and from there my miseducation had gone astray. Now it was all up to my third grade teacher to ensure I wasn't a threat to society.

It wasn't until way later down the line that I realized I was just weird. Drawing dragons didn't make me a dragon rider anymore than watching CNN in the fifth grade made me a political guru. Ah, reality sucks. Still though, it helped me get by those rough days in the third grade to imagine that one day, during a lesson, a dragon would crash through the classroom ceiling and recognize me as his true owner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The View

On this fine summer day, my family and I decided to eat at this place called Santa Fe Steakhouse. We took our seats, and found that the light emitting through the window shades was blinding our eyes and cooking us like an easy bake oven. So, we closed the shades. It was when we found that the window next to those shades was also blinding us that the conflict began....

"That light is way too bright, ask those people if we could close the shades." My mom asked.

My dad obliged, "Excuse me ma'am, but do you mind if we close those shades? The light is in our eyes." he asked the blond woman and her elderly mom.

To me, it was one of those questions to which there was only one answer. Kind of like, 'excuse me ma'am, you're standing on my foot. I know you don't realize it, but that is why I am informing you. Could you kindly remove it, or move slightly to the left?'

This question was more or less a question like 'excuse me ma'am, but the light protruding from the window nearest you is blinding my wife and children. I'd rather them not have to learn braille, so I was wondering if you could allow us to close the blinds? Only at your utmost convenience...'

So, I was really quite surprised when the heavyset middle aged blond woman answered, "Well we like to look outside."

It wasn't just her answer that made me mad, it was the way she said it. 'How dare you ask me such a thing?' She seemed to say, 'this is my view, I very much enjoy it, and you want me to just give it up for nothing?! The answer is no, bitch.'

You would think we were sitting in a Parisian cafe, not an Oklahoma steakhouse, and we had just asked to close the blinds to a window with a view to the Eiffel Tower. What did she think she would be missing out there?? There can't be anything that good to be worth blinding the people sitting behind you, can there? I don't know, you be the judge, here's a picture I snapped of the glorious view that these women might have missed had they closed the shades:

I don't know, maybe it's beautiful in its own way.

So naturally, after that, we started nitpicking on Barb's every move. We found out her name was Barb after we saw her crawl into her Nissan with a vanity license plate. It's actually the same Nissan pictured above. I guess when you think about it, she was obstructing her own view with her car... but anyway. From there, she became Barb The Biznatch, or Bitchy Barb. She also had a sidekick that I nicknamed Gruesome Granny.

I named her thus because a waiter started cleaning a table next to her, and was almost done when G.G. said: "Sir, sir, sir, you missed something sir!" She said this with a kind of disproportionate urgency. The kind you might expect if you were trying to yell at someone that they've forgotten their child on the train platform as they tragically chug out of view to flee the Nazis, their arms outstretched trying to grab the child as she runs along.

The waiter looks around the table then gives her a look that asks, 'what?!'
"Sir you missed something!" G.G. reiterates, this time with more urgency.
The man looks down and takes a napkin off the chair. "There you go." She says, content.
Then the man gives Gruesome Granny a smiling look that says 'thanks bitch, I almost missed it.'
Now we knew where Bitchy Barb gets all her bitchyness.

On the bright side though, we got to talk to our waiter. A dance instructor who, though he refused to do a back flip in the middle of the restaurant, talked to my sister about her high school dance team and was very personable. He gave us free dessert at the end, it does pay to be nice. Then I thought about how for every cranky, annoying person you meet... there's always another nice one.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crazy point of view

I was bored the other day and decided to watch whatever my family was watching on TV. It was something about Prom Night in Mississippi, a show following the first integrated prom in some town. What really caught my interest though, not that the repetition of the N word a million times in a Mississippi accent isn't riveting, was a certain woman's perspective on biracial or mixed kids.

"Well, dis is da way I see it..." the middle aged skinny blonde woman began, "tha good Lord put differ'nt races on dis earth fuh a reason. And that reason is in-duh-viduality. If he wanted us to all be the same then he woulda made it so, and when people sin and mix they races it's a strike against God. Eventually if it keeps goin' on then aint no in-duh-viduality goin' ta be left."

Ordinarily, I'd be rolling my eyes and sighing at such ignorance. Yet she held my interest, not because of what she was saying, but because of her left eye. Whcih, by the way, gave her all the in-duh-viduality in the free world.

While she made her monotone speech about how mixed children are the brood of Lucifer, her left eye was dancing wildly this way and that; like Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series. I kept trying to focus on how angry her words made me, how serious of a problem it is that people still think that way in America, but it was becoming hard not to laugh.

What gave this lazy eyed Moody wannabe the right to talk that way? I'm not saying she's not allowed to have an opinion, but I want to know what makes her think she's right. Surely, she can take a walk outside of herself and observe her life with her good eye.

"Well," she might begin, "I may be a terrible drunk, I may have smoked eight packs a day while pregnant with my first child, I may be an extremely racist individual, but damn it on this issue you can chalk one up for me because I'm correct."

Then, for some reason, I thought I was being too hard on her. I had, after all, immediately created all of the above scenarios in my mind based on how she looked and spoke and was acting. No matter how true my observations and predictions may have been, I didn't have to be judging her.

The way I see it is we all have a crazy eye that wiggles this way and that. That one eye that gives people the once over and then assumes they know it all. I'm not saying I'd apologize to this woman, obviously she disapproves of my very existence, yet... I don't have to be like her. I don't want to have that evil eye that makes it impossible for me to be tolerant of someone, I just don't want to have to look out of it. It provides us a shaky outlook at best, and makes for one crazy point of view.