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Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Cinco de Mayo. Where's My Margarita?

Today is the one day a year I can justify the tequila on my Cheerios and the fact that my hair looks like a piñata, for today is Cinco de Mayo! It is not Mexican Independence Day, but it is the day that the Mexican state of Puebla commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Then the United States took over the holiday as an excuse to drink two-for-one margaritas and act like they really give a shit about any country other than their own. "No shit," says every Irish person who wishes that St. Patrick's Day was not all about Shamrock Shakes and getting trashed on Guinness at a pub called Maggie O'Donnell's. As a half-Mexican, I want to acknowledge this day and look back at my history and family heritage. I think about my great-great-great-great grandfather who was a busboy at a little taquería in a border town of Mexico and got too drunk one night on his shift drinks and woke up on the wrong side of the border. "Ay, chihuahua, dios mio. I guess I am a Texan now." He got another job as a dishwasher and so it all began.

Not too long ago, one of my regulars, who we all know at work as pretty much crazy, was in my station. She is a performer and quite well known but that night she was there as a patron of the arts instead of standing on the stage and screeching out notes that were in her range about a decade ago, but now not so much. She wanted me to know that she had just enjoyed dinner at a Mexican restaurant and she had already sucked down two margaritas. In my attempt to make small talk, I told her that I love Mexican food. She seemed surprised. Like Mexican food was her little secret in the culinary world and she couldn't believe that anyone else had ever heard of the exotic treat "taco." "Sure, I love Mexican food," I told her. "After all, I'm from Texas and I am half Mexican." This comment too seemed to take her by surprise. I wasn't sure which part of the statement was so interesting. I certainly don't appear to be your average Texan since I do not have a drawl nor do I have a gun rack on the back window of my pick-up truck. "You're half Mexican?" She said this after sucking in her breath at an alarming rate. "I had no idea." Now if you knew me, you wouldn't necessarily think I was half Mexican either because I have fair skin and light eyes, but my last name is definitely of Mexican descent. That, and my clinical addiction to tortillas and tequila should quell any questions about my heritage. Crazy Lady continued. "I can't believe you're half Mexican. You don't seem Mexican at all. You seem all regular." Hold the phone, did this bitch just use the word "regular" to describe my race? Regular in the same way that "nude" pantyhose are flesh colored for white people and the way that Crayons used to have a color called "flesh" that was the color of white people flesh? Awww, hell no. I was about to reach into my pocket, pull out a handful of pinto beans and rub them all up in her gringo face. Do not make me add another tear tattoo under my eye because I may have to kill a bitch. (I will do the tattoo myself with a Bic pen, a needle and lighter.) As I walked away, I heard her say to the table next to her, "Can you believe he is half Mexican?" So now my race is a topic of conversation amongst my whole station.

I personally don't see race. I really don't. I guess growing up as a child who never knew which circle to fill in on the race section of the SAT's and crap made it something of a non-issue for me. I never wanted to check Caucasian and dis my dad or classify myself as Mexican and ignore my Mom, so I always put "other" and moved on. The next time I see Crazy Lady though, I will put on my best Cheech and Chong accent and drive to her table in a low-rider while wearing a big fucking sombrero. I want to make sure she is real clear on the stereotypes of us rice and bean eaters just like she has made it clear for me that all 70 year old female jazz singers in New York City must be racists who have no problem insulting me right to my half-Mexican face.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If you see a Mexican today, give him a hug. And a Corona. And a job.



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4 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

I will be sure to kiss my half-Mexican son and wish him a Feliz Cinco de Mayo, right before I send him to fetch me a margarita. :)

NellieVaughn said...

I dig it. I don't see race either. When I was a wee lass, I had a major crush on a boy named Patrick. One day, he just stopped showing up to class. I asked all the boys and all the girls, "Where could Patrick be?" I got many, "No clue, don't care"s. And finally, someone said,"He moved. Oh, did you have a crush on the black kid?"
I had no idea.

Maria said...

Clearly she's living in the past in more ways than one if she thinks she can still hit those high notes AND talk to people like that. Ignore Norma Desmond, Bitchy. Her behavior reflected badly on her, not you.

Myr said...

May I add to the stereotypes? Happy Cinco de Mayo. Now mow my lawn! LOL
My sons dad is Mexican, and I am the whitest white girl on the planet. Ten minutes in the sun has me running for the SPF 5,000. As I live in a somewhat less diverse state, I have had customers make racist jokes/comments in my presence and its all I can do to not slap them. People are so ignorant. Welcome to 2012, bitches.