Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The further adventures of Racially Ambiguous Man


For those of you who have not met the Bookhouse Boy, I am extremely racially ambiguous. There is a point in every friendship I have had, usually a few months in, when my new pal will finally get around to asking, "what are you, anyway?" Sometimes they hint at it, sometimes they just blurt it out. I usually make them guess. I've heard Greek, Hispanic, Italian, Native American, Spanish ... once a junior high bully called me a "gook," but that dude was a dipshit. Then, after I've heard their guess, I have to tell them that, alas, I am just a rather dark-hued white-boy.

Today, I combed my hair straight back (don't worry, I'm going somewhere with this). I usually do this every morning, and then let my hair form whatever hairstyle it chooses. But today, it stayed combed back. The result? Two seperate times today I've had people speak Spanish to me with no provocation. They just assumed I knew it.

The first time, I have no idea what the people were saying, but it was obviously a joke, so I laughed. Well, I hope it was a joke, and "puta" does mean "whore" and not "my grandmother died." The second time, I was in the West Village, waiting for a train back to Brooklyn when a woman approched me and began jabbering in Spanish. I eventually figured out that she wanted to know if the train went to Manhattan. But we were in Manhattan.

"Norte?" I asked her?
"No," I said, and motioned to the other platform. "Norte."

What does this have to do with crime, you might ask? Well, the only reason I know the word "norte" is because of the hispanic Cali gangs.


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