MySpace has sent me an email reminding me that today is the birthday of one of my “friends”, a certain Barack Obama. So for the Senator’s birthday I will relate a local Obama story.
Last week I paused in the dash to finish all the end of semester paperwork and took a stroll in the neighborhood around my school. In front of a local day care center, a drunk was shouting about all the people he was going to kill. That was different.
I made my way to the Radio Shack where my last unfortunate visit had yielded a fawning sales clerk who told me how wonderful it was that someone female would take an interest in technology. As I restrained homicidal impulses, he read the back of several router packages to me. Was he amazed that I could read as well? No, if he was reading to me, he probably thought I couldn’t read. Never mind, I found a very lovely router for $60 less online through my favorite website, techbargains.com. Maybe reading is such a mystical art, and maybe technology for women is such a novelty, but I sure do know how to accessorize. The little green lights of the router match my modem perfectly. This visit was even worse. I had developed a sudden compulsion to look at thumb drives, which were behind the counter. The lone sales clerk had the volume of a demo stereo cranked to max and I was clearly in the way. Radio Shack is always so unpleasant.
Returning to the school with a bag of fast food, I settled into the break room and tried to follow the Spanish conversation of the staff. I had just missed a drunk who showed up at the school. The same one who had been shouting at the day care center. “When are you going to give me some food?” he had demanded from the staff. “Never,” was the answer.
Just wait til Obama is president, the drunk said. There won’t be any more white people, and you will have to go back to Mexico.
En vino veritas? Is this something going around on the streets or just some drunken raving? Last winter there was a rumor in the Hispanic community that if Obama won all the blacks were going to riot. So they didn’t want to vote for him. In retrospect, after Al Sharptons’s comments about Denver, maybe it’s not so far fetched, but the answer I gave at the time was easy. It wasn’t that long ago that Chicago elected a black mayor, Harold Washington, and there was no riot. Just Chicago business as usual. But what is the expectation on the street?