Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Everyday is A Gift

My mother called me the other day to ask about my dog.  She has two dogs and is an animal lover. I was worried she may be hoarding animals, but two cats and two dogs do not make up a "hoard". Her question was easy to answer, Scruffy the Poodle is old and I answer anyone who asks: " every day with him is a gift."  You see, he is quite an old poodle. I don't know how old to be exact, but he's been with me for 13 years and he was already an adult when I found him wandering the streets of South Dade.  Scruffy was a feral poodle.

I often tell people that there are packs of feral poodles running behind Bloomingdales at the Falls Shopping Center, taking down unsuspecting South Dade matrons and mauling them. Scruffy the Poodle is not a particularly outstanding poodle. He's basically a piece of white cotton candy with three dots for a face. Two dark eyes and a small black nose that are not particularly expressive. Yet it's that simple lack of expressiveness that makes him see more toy-like and adorable. He has always walked on wobbly, unbending legs which makes him look like he's a wind-up toy. He's small, I never realize how small until I see him with other dogs, because to me he's seems to be the perfect dog for the city. He's not yappy or aggressive and never has been. He has the uncanny ability to dislike the same people I do, especially certain close relatives. (If he growls at you, rest assured I don't like you either.)

Recently the vet suggested "I prepare myself" for "the inevitable".  I've calculated that he has spent about 14,000 hours sitting in my lap or sleeping in my arms. In his lifetime we've easily walked 7,000 miles together and he's been a true friend every step of the way. Now , he's sleeping about 18 hours a day, right at my feet. His little legs twitch as he dreams. 

I recently read a book called "Old Dogs" by  Gene Weingarten and Michael S. Williamson. It was an homage to the dogs that have spent their lives as our faithful companions. It is quite a touching in it's simplicity, describing the animal in it's peak and then how it has earned it's spot on a front porch, lawn or corner of the den.  Soulful eyes and an occasional bark to remind us that, hey! I'm still here, still here for you. From the day I found him to our last day together, Scruffy.....every day is a gift. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Angry White Man

Despite being born to a Honduran mother in Honduras, and being a proud advocate for Latino culture and equality, there is a granite hard kernel of whiteness in my soul.  It is inextricably linked to my daily functioning, irritating everything like a poppy seed in an old person's dentures. It's a grinding kind of whiteness, the kind that leads to acid-reflux and cardiac arrest. The kind of whiteness that eats your soul and emerges in a blinding rage with the words;"GET OFF MY  LAWN,CAN'T YOU READ THE SIGN!?!"

Now those of you who know me may think I'm kind of a friendly jokester, but deep down there is a rage. A rage fed by my White Anglo Saxon Protestant genes that would put the Tea Party to shame. That small seed of whiteness is constantly chafing against 15 years of living in Latin America and living another 20 in Miami (Latin America by Proxy). Despite my Latino birth and Cuban husband, I cannot suppress it. My husband even says "you're acting like your uptight WASPy stepmother" when I get frustrated by people of Miami who don't seem to understand the basic tenet of white culture: Try not to annoy other people, or people in general. Also known as "not drawing attention to oneself" which is diametrically opposed to my Latino and Gay genes.

It is contradictory to life in Miami. Do not seems like such a simple rule. Like the Venezuelan 20 something that parked his SUV in the middle of the lot and blocked everyone in, went into the fast food joint, and refused to speak English. He kept asking for the "pollitos". The cashier kept saying chicken, and the guy refused to budge.

Really? You can't order chicken at a fast food joint? Then get angry at the guy who doesn't speak Spanish? My white rage emerged, and I politely said to another person in line, in English, "that guy should learn English".

Guess what....he said "fuck you".

I smiled with my mouth, not with my eyes. 

Try Not To Annoy Other People, It's really a very simple rule, like the Golden One, but just more important. It is a hard to rule to live by, especially if you're gay and fabulous (which can be annoying in and of itself....even to me).  But it is a good one.  Do you have enough labels? You can rock khaki and a polo shirt without a seven inch logo attached to your chest.

Simple white people rules: smile with your mouth not with your eyes(Forget it Tyra, smizing is gauche).  Everyone should at least try to speak English when in America. Say "please" and "thank you". Pick up your trash, whether it's your kids or that candy bar wrapper, pick it up.   Kids under 11 need to be in bed by 8:30, even on weekends.  Kids should never been seen outside the home, unless they're at a funeral, and then only kids over 13. Know the rules, break them only when they involve white collar crime or when nobody is looking. If your dog craps in somebody's woods and there's nobody to pick it up, the dog didn't really crap did it? Mayonnaise is the mortar that builds the wall of white solidarity.

Finally, fear the wrath of the white guy(before he get's his gun.) He will call the city, he will call the police, he will call the neighborhood association, he will be nice, and direct. He will send a letter to city commission, or might even show up. He will ask for your supervisor. He is the angry white man.....he will get his way. So stay off my lawn kid.