Finally, somebody says something reasonable about immigration. Being anti-immigrant and being disturbed by the porousness of the borders are not remotely the same thing. For many people, the concepts of “an immigrant” and “a person who crosses the border illegally” occupy completely different places in their heads.
An example. I’m preoccupied by the porousness of the borders. The issue began to matter to me since I found out about the opioid epidemic, which is something I care about deeply. Before I didn’t give a toss.
I’m sure we are all aware that finding any bias against Hispanic immigrants in me is a hopeless enterprise. There can never be too many Hispanic people around me. I don’t blame anybody who doesn’t share this idiosyncrasy of mine and I recognize people’s right to be discomfited by a different culture and language. God knows I’ve experienced what it feels like to be in a place where you don’t understand many or most of the people and I know how traumatic it can be. I, however, live in the grip of an almost physiological affinity for the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture. At the pool in Florida, there were many Spanish speakers, and I can’t tell you, folks, what it feels like. It’s like being on drugs. I experience little explosions of pleasure in my brain. I can’t explain it, it just is.
But I do recognize there is a problem at the border and that it needs to be addressed. If that’s anti-immigrant, I’m a graceful swan.
We all dressed in patriotic clothing for the barbecue. Even Canadians went all red, white, and blue. The only real American among us didn’t. Immigrants are always the most patriotic because it means something to us while fifteenth-generation Americans are jaded.
We have an ambitious menu for our 4th of July barbecue.
We’ll be doing cedar-plank salmon, chicken shashlik, grilled asparagus, papas a la huancaina (some of the participants are partly or fully Peruvian), an assortment of fresh vegetables, choclo, apple pie a la mode, and a battery of mysterious desserts from the guests.
The menu is as international as the guests. Among the 9 of us, we represent five countries of origin.
In a way, though, we are truly American. We have side hustles. I’ve got three: I write compensated (yet honest) reviews, I sell stuff in FB, and I get money for blogging.
N has income from his book, he lets his property for extra income, plus he has another side hustle that brings in more income than my entire salary. My Canadian relatives are always stunned by all our side hustles. In Canada, the economy is more rigid and doesn’t allow for many side hustles.
Just so that people stop telling me that only women do this kind of thing:
I woke up this morning unnaturally early, with a sick feeling in my stomach. I went downstairs while my wife and daughters slept to make some coffee. I noticed a little pink water beneath the watermelon sitting on the counter. I picked it up, only for watermelon water and pulp to gush out all over the counter and floor. Evidently it had been bruised or something, but I took it as a kind of sign on this Independence Day in this year of nightmares, 2018.
And a bit later in the post:
Nowhere may be safe from the rising tide of hate submerging the world.
It’s true that an immigrant is always an immigrant. I will never feel sufficiently self-important to see signs that watermelons approve of my politics and to engage in the national pastime of extreme self-pity.
For the first time as an American citizen, I wish you happy July 4th!
It also happens to be exactly 20 years since I arrived on this continent.
Yes, that would be twenty. When I stepped off the airplane in Toronto back in 1998, I knew exactly what I wanted. Except for minor details*, I now have it.
Time for a new plan.
* The original goal was to be a literary translator from Spanish. And wear pastel-colored outfits.