Friday, October 14, 2011

12 Octubre 2011

A situation I've always imagined I would react to differently:

I sit on a ledge waiting for my coworkers to show up outside a recycling center in a somewhat-hidden side street. A woman walks up carrying bags ready to go to the market nearby. She asks if it is OK to put on her bra in front of me because it is the only place nearby where she won't be seen. I ask her to repeat partly because I don't really believe she is going to put her bra on in front of me but mainly because I don't catch everything she says. She realizes I am a foreigner. She asks me why I came here from the US. I never mentioned I was a US American. I tell her I am doing social service work and explain what I studied in college. She tells me that's interesting and she is a lawyer (though I believe she is out of work right now). She begins forwardly telling me: Mexico is a rich country with beautiful people, and my country would crash if it did not have Mexican workers picking its apples. How it so incredibly unjust that my people are refusing Mexican workers just prices. She asks me how old I am – seventeen, eighteen? Twenty-two. She nods as if that clarifies something and says she is thirty-four and has seen it all. She asks where my jeans were made as if testing me. I shrug and say, “Probably China.” She shakes her head and says it is due to Mexican labor that I am wearing these jeans. She asks why I (presumably as a US American) am in so much debt, yet can afford to control the world economy. Mexico, so rich in natural resources and so amazing in culture, if it had an infrastructure, could do the same. I reply, embarrassed but mostly angry and feeling totally affronted, “I don't know. I'm not America.” I tell her, “So clearly you're angry. What would you like me to do about it?” (for the books, I was not sassy externally – I made sure of that) She rapidly assures me it is not anger (though I still disagree that anger is entirely lacking), but something she can't exactly pinpoint. She smiles, thanks me for talking, gives me her number, and tells me we should have coffee sometime.
What do you think you would you do in this situation?

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