Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Legal Aliens

I am constantly amused by how the natives see me here. Even Big Dog's family. His sister bought a pack of paper napkins for me. She didn't want to see me have to wash cloth napkins. I make a point of using as little paper product as I can, thus the cloth napkins, but I guess it looked kind of "backward" to her. Like washing dishes by hand.

(Last year, this time, I was washing clothes by hand. Now, THAT was backward!)

Out on the town, I am just another immigrant. If I'm with Big Dog, then I'm a war bride, even though Big Dog looks like the last person the US Military would take. "Either way, she's here to make a better life for herself, so let's be helpful!" Everyone is kind and generous in her/his own way so I try not to be a bitch, I try to be appreciative.

"Oh, that's handy," I say to The Sister about the pack of paper napkins. As soon as she leaves, I put them away in the pantry for when she's visiting next time. I don't tell Big Dog. He'd lecture her about the environment and trees and what-is-she-thinking-anyway. Why should we make her feel bad when she's only being kind?

Last week, at the vegetable stand, I met a Thai woman. Maybe she, too, had a rich and interesting past, but I found myself viewing her through the Lens of Stereotypes, so I guess you can't blame anyone for any misconceptions they may have about me.

She had moved to this area from Sacramento and we both bemoaned the lack of Asian groceries in our immediate neighborhood.

"There one in Pismo Beach. They order for customer, so you want something special, you just tell them. I order square rice paper. They only have round one. And every Friday, they get fish."

We reminisce about the tiny tasty fish, the many kinds of seafood that Asian markets will have.

"How can we live by the ocean and have so little seafood in the local markets? No squid, no clams, the same 4 kinds of fish…"

I remember how my friend's Thai wife was so friendly, it took me by surprise. We had just met but she walked right into my kitchen, poked around and started cooking for us! Mi casa, su casa, indeed! Sunee was just as friendly. Before I even got my money into the money jar for the fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and green beans, she had invited me to go to the Asian grocery store with her, given me her phone number and sounded ready to take me home for some green curry.

"Call me," she yelled as I rode off on my bike, back to The Ranch. I really should. If only I didn't have my phonephobia. Sigh.

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