".. naturalized citizens are like reformed smokers. They sniff loudly when a native-born American walks in the room..."
I HAVE BOWEL MOVEMENT!, March 16, 1999
last week's nervous breakdown; if the Rolling Stones can have 19, surely
I can have one. After remedying myself with a few good conversations and
several pleasant e-mails, all I can say is, expect more. Expect one if I
fail, two if I succeed. I am, shall we say, of a certain temperament and
you, dear readers, are Tuesday's victims. On with the bile.
"Hey," I said, knocking on the steel door, "are you almost finished in there?"
I heard a preliminary flush and a few unintelligible shouts from the ancient Chinese guy who snitches to the lifeguard if I don't shower before using the pool, which I never do because that's what chlorine's for. I waited a few minutes and knocked again.
People are waiting out here, I shouted, even though only I was waiting and I didn't have to go to pee that badly but I wasn't going to lose a battle of wills to this cranky old rat.
"Use bathroom, upstair!"
"Just hurry up, please."
"I HAVE BOWEL MOVEMENT!"
Oh. Well, I guess I can hold it for a few more minutes.
Immigrants aren't so noble anymore. Oh, oh, they're all so hard working
, I thought before I met any of them. So brave! Traveling to America on boats and slaveships! I must tip well and purchase their overpriced foodstuffs. No more. A guy stands outside the place I work and sells fruit to drones five days a week. I bought grapes once and he hasn't left me alone since.
"Grapes! Two dollars pound!"
"No, thank you."
"Why not? Dollar fifty pound. Two pounds four dollars!"
"No thank you."
"No! Leave me alone, bad man. They give me BOWEL MOVEMENT."
Construction workers passing by a Jugs magazine cover shoot are less aggressive that the fruit guy from somewhere in Latin America.
As a libertarian who believes in the power of the individual, Im happy to report that immigrants are as annoying as the Americans who hate them. Don't write me to tell me Im racist. Youre wrong. Im in love with an immigrant. And he loves me too. He compliments me all the time. Nice passport, Laurie. Is that American? Why yes it is, and thank you for noticing. He proposed to me on the first date. None of my other boyfriends ever did that! Lazy, self centered Americans.
Ok. I lied. He's a citizen. In fact, hes the worst kind of citizen; he's a naturalized citizen. He took tests. He studied. The minutae he can extract from the Constitution would impress an OJ lawyer. Naturalized citizens are like reformed smokers. They sniff loudly when a native-born American walks in the room.
"I smell someone who doesn't know what the 19th amendment is."
"Hey pal, why don't you give the Gettysburg Address a rest and help me find the remote control. Entertainment Tonight starts in four score and twenty minutes."
Gennady invited me to a family dinner at Cafe Paris. (Pronounce Pa- reeze) Fifty Russians three tables and me. Americans included myself and one grandchild. We played Barbies at the Yankee table while the adults talked about the good old days.
"Yeah," I told Laura the next morning, "imagine the wedding scene in the Godfather, in Russian."
"Did you really think it was like that," Gennady asked, popping three-pound-five-dollar grapes in his mouth.
"Hmmm. Were the police parked across the street in uncamouflaged survellience?"
"Did your grandmothers pinch my cheeks and tell you, 'at least she looks Russian'?"
"Is the uncle with a tattooed hand, the one who was threatened to shoot the police, a businessman in the import/export industry?"
"Did the Ukrainian Tony Bennet stop by and sing a few songs for your uncle?"
"Da, da, da."
"Has your brother Fredo sold you out to Moe Green?"
"Well, that's Part II."