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Seventy Hours Amongst The People

Jim The Small Child Nephew showed off his latest preschool masterpiece to me this weekend.  It was a fairly incomprehensible mass of brown and green construction paper, but, as the poor child is showing left-handed tendencies and seems to have inherited my abysmal motor skills, I accepted it equally immense parts of empathy and pity.

Thanks to a young adulthood awash in The Baby-sitters Club, I knew how to ask him what in the world I was looking at.  You don't say "What is it?"  because then the child will be highly offended and scarred for life and probably join a cult upon puberty.  Instead you say, "Tell me about it!"

"Tell Aunt Beth about your fairly incomprehensible mass of brown and green construction paper!"

"It's a acorn!"

"Oh, that's beautiful.  Does it illegally register people to vote?"

Driving through Cincinnati's West Side in the fall tsunamied nostalgia over me and my Virgina driver's license in an almost physical way:  Yard signs were out for the Congressman whose campaign I worked on as a senior as part of a civics class project.  More yard signs advertised the November open house of my alma mater; next year's freshmen will be welcomed as the Class of 2013. (Pause for yet another death of yet another small piece of invincibility.)  The rides were running at Kings Island.  We ran into teenagers in pearls and tuxes at a Skyline Chili, bound for the Oak Hills High homecoming dance, because on the West Side, when formality is required, what you want is a Chili Bean Mix Burrito Deluxe.  A gas station advertised "smoothies, bait, and cornhole supplies."

These are my people, and not a single one of them would particularly care if last week I met the Chief of Staff to the Assistant's Assistant Secretary of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.  If it weren't for this upside down mortgage and these ninteen college freshman who raise their hands because they require clarification on if Barack Obama is a Senator or what, I'd be there tomorrow:  "One smoothie and a thingie of bait, please, but keep them very, very separate."

Elder home football game this Friday at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

tip the bartender

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Reader Comments (7)

>>>"If it weren’t for...I’d be there tomorrow."

Oh, I REALLY know how you feel. Just this summer, I came thisclose to relocating to a place about 7 hours from my hometown, in a new state. Everything was so foreign and awful that it made me miss the stupid little things about 'home' that I never realized I missed before.

Hang in there. God sent you to Ginger for a reason.

October 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterj.s.

"Skyline Chili Bean Mix in a soft tortilla, topped with our secret-recipe chili, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and a black olive slice."

...cheddar cheese?

...Sour cream and a black olive??

Now I know why Taco Bell will never, EVER, be successful down here.

October 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Makes me think of how much I want to go home too---but just to visit. We're on fall break this week, and I'm stuck here.....in the land of blue skies, palm trees, and (at the moment) perfect temperatures. Don't have the money to go back to Indiana right now, so I'll have to wait for Christmas.

I could never move back permanently, though. Can't stand winter. Also, no jobs there. Every teaching position that comes open there has anywhere from 50-100 applicants! My father, who's a county commissioner back home tells me that in my home town, population right around 10,000 people, there are roughly 400 houses for sale. Makes me sad.

On the other hand, I feel very fortunate to be out here where I have seniority at my grade level where I teach, meaning they'd have to close the school before I'd lose my job, and since we're overcrowded, I don't see that happening. See----there really is a silver lining to every cloud!

October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemmingAZ

Red Pill Junkie: I know, I know! My students, especially the ones who have family in Mexico and regularly go to visit (I live in Arizona and most of them go at least once a month) laugh about Taco Bell.

Of course, they also eat Flaming Hot Cheetos like they're candy and lollipops dipped in chili powder. I tried it once, and couldn't feel my tongue for the longest time!

I've decided Taco Bell is for those of us who like the idea of Mexican food, but care more about the aesthetics of it (i.e. its appearance) than the authenticity of it (how hot/spicy it is). I can't eat the authentic Mexican food that friends of mine make. It's entirely too spicy. So.....off to Taco Bell I go, so I can have my 7-layer burrito (which is very much like the one you commented on).

I never realized that Mexican food didn't use cheddar cheese, sour cream, or black olives. What would that burrito consist of if it were made in Mexico? I'm curious.

October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemmingAZ

"What would that burrito consist of if it were made in Mexico? I’m curious."

Well, WiserlemmingAZ, the thing is this: a true burrito has everything inside the tortilla. If it's got weird toppings like cheese and strawberries or whatever, it's not a true burrito :-)

I can also tell you that here in Mexico city—where I live in— there aren't many restaurants that sell burritos. Those are a dish favored in the northern states mostly. At night after going to a bar of a club, what many people do is look for tacos, and some of the most popular are called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacos_al_pastor" rel="nofollow">"tacos al pastor", which many street vendors sell all over town.

I really shouldn't complain about your burritos, because frankly it is an example of how a culture takes a foreign element, and reinterprets it to make something new; and by that the culture becomes more enriched. Pizza, chop-suey & burritos are more American than foreign.

So yes, have your sour-creemed burritos with as many olives as you want on top! But if you have the opportunity, go look for a place that sells genuine "tacos al pastor" (ask them for a mellow sauce). I guarantee you you won't regret it. And if it's still too spicy, you can always quench the fire with a http://www.americanidle.org/images/blog/tecate_snow_040405.jpg" rel="nofollow">good Mexican beer ;-)

PS: Spicy foods are kind of addictive, all that capsicine dilates your blood vessels.

October 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

"Spicy foods are kind of addictive, all that capsicine dilates your blood vessels."

I wonder if that's why my students like those Flamin' Red Cheetos and those lollipops coated with chili powder?

Thanks for the tip. I know there are genuine Mexican food places here somewhere. I'll have to ask around.

October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemmingAZ

When my niece was 6, she drew a picture of us together. She's now 15 but the picture still hangs on my refrigerator. Can't let go of the cute little girl even though she now has her LEARNER'S PERMIT!!!!! And a BOYFRIEND WHO DRIVES!
Man, I feel ancient....

October 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara N
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