i thought my blog needed an update, but didn’t have the time to actually do anything original – so i apologize for posting some old writing.
weekend at home
when i think back upon it i wonder how i survived all those years, growing up here. this weekend, i was revisited by ghosts of my past, the three companions of so many years: seclusion, separation, segregation.
saturday night, i hit up all the old local standards, the globe, branagan’s, the dub (dublin house), and ended at red. i didn’t see a single asian the entire night. i didn’t see another minority, until i went to red (an upscale hip, hip-hop lounge). in general, i was intoxicated enough to not really notice or care, but later, contemplating it all, it hit me how out of place i must’ve “looked”, which transitioned to how i subconsciously “felt”.
sunday. the first sunday of lent. i attended mass where my father sings in the choir. in the hundreds of faithful, my awareness heightened from the night before, not a single minority. walking down the center aisle to receive communion contemplating the body and blood of Jesus, i couldn’t help but be nagged by the feeling that i was the “odd-one out”. were those stares, furtive glances, slight rises of eyebrows? and how could i blame them, squished as i was between my italian mother, and the beefy investment banker looking guy behind me. my flat face, slanted eyes, black hair, and darker toned skin couldn’t be missed, in this crowded white collar, old money congregation. i blushed. embarrassed. shy. and i piously bowed my head further.
i went to brunch with my dad. the broadway diner. you can’t miss the logos of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and Phantom of the Opera posters hanging just inside the window. we were discretely sat in the back corner. over the cup of joe, we talked about my dad’s recent trip to guatemala. the waitress came to take our order, and i saw the ever so slight questioning look. two eggs over easy, side of buckwheat pancakes, and a large glass of oj i say. was that registered surprise for how fluent my english sounded? not a single asian, let alone minority (do we count the hispanic bus boys/girls?) crossed my path. i was singularly alone. and for some reason, feeling like i was in the wrong place. i didn’t belong here. i had disturbing flashes of grammar school.
dare i admit that i went to see brokeback mountain that night? how could i say no to my own mother. i almost got out of it, but my dad was called to the hospital, what a convenient emergency. i couldn’t let her go alone to the movies, and she couldn’t wait to see the “scenery of backcountry wyoming on the big screen…” (yes, these are the types of reasons why my mother goes to the movies; story lines, plots, actors, directors are all beside the point). we drove to a discount indy theatre in bradley beach. driving through the mamouth turn of the century and early 19th century mansions of monmouth beach, deal, and asbury park, i realized, all of them were painted white. symbolically white. the theatre had about a hundred people already seated, we missed the best part, the previews. white. i slid deeper into my seat. i mean really, who goes to the movies with their mom on a sunday night, and to see gay cowboys? i wasn’t white.
the train into the big apple this morning was crowded with the usual suits and wannabe commuting actors. i slept. but how glorious it was to see so many colors walking to my office. so many faces. i am anonymous in this city. i’m just a patch on an infinitesimal quilt. not a single raised eyebrow, furtive glance, questioning look; or there was that one, but she was probably just checking out my new duds…