Sunday, May 9, 2010
Overheard Dinner Conversation
The other night I went to dinner at Bleu Evolution. The evening was warm, the sky clear blue. The restaurant's back garden had just opened for the season. The grape vines had just begun to unfurl new leaves on the overhead trellis. Halfway through my meal, three men sat down at the table next to me. They were a German, a Mexican, and an American. Within minutes, the American began a right-wing political tirade. He said that American culture is superior to Mexican culture, that illegal immigrants are disrespecting US laws and taking our jobs, that all Mexican immigrants should have a green card before being allowed in the country. I wondered, did the American know nothing about immigration quotas, how hard it is to get a visa let alone a green card, how most people need enough money for lawyers in order to get the paper work together, that many Mexicans who enter the country illegaly work exploitative jobs for less than minimum wage, jobs that most Americans wouldn't deign to work. Did the man not know that just a few blocks away in this neighborhood live Dominican families ten to fifteen to a room because that's all they can afford. The man knew nothing of immigrant life, yet he was saying Americans are superior. The German remained mute. The Mexican tried to talk some sense into the man, who hurtled personal insults at the Mexican. Then American had the gall to wink at me. He was fat and ugly, with two double chins. I shook my head and tried to ignore him. But my dinner had been ruined. I broke into their conversation and told the man that he needed to stop blaming others and take a good hard look at himself. Like most abusive narcissists faced with the truth about themselves, he next attacked me, calling me emotional. I asked for the check and left. On the way out, I asked one of the waiters, a small, shy man from Ecuador who is always friendly to me, how he could stand such talk. He said with a knowing smile which proved him to be the bigger man, we don't listen to it. Good advice, with racist biggots as well as with other unsavory people.