In Shynes Mind

I heard it on a ski lift…. – 1/8/2007

I have recently returned from a WONDERFUL, albeit minimally snowy vacation to Tennessee. Our group contained myself, an African American, my daughter, half AA, half German, my boyfriend, Cuban, our former roommate, half Cuban, half Mexican, and his girlfriend, Honduran. Why do I go through the ethnicities? Read on.

Please, put aside your preconcieved notions that all of our southern states are places only for WASPs, for that is not true. Even a small town like Gatlinburg, a resort town, found its fair share of culturally diverse crowds. We ran into many people who spoke Spanish, French, German, and even Russian (we think). There were even quite a few black folks out trying out this snowboarding sensation. (Keep at it! Don’t leave me out there alone!)

All this and more I tell you only to relive the funniest thing I heard all week. It’s funny in a sad sort of way, but I laughed as did all in my group when I relayed the story, which in turn, allows you to laugh too.

Skiing/snowboarding is quite the social sport. Either that, or I must have a sign on that only other people can see that says “I want you, a compete stranger, to tell me everything about yourself and ask you everything there is to know about me.” Long sign, I know, but I must be wearing it. At any rate, I’ve been off riding by myself for a while as my daughter is in a lesson and my poor baby is home sick on the first day of our trip. I’ve made fast friends with 2 girls from TN that just love me for some reason (am I Token?), as well as several other kids. I guess it could be that I look younger than I am and act nowhere near my age, but I digress.

On one particular lift ride, I had the opportunity to ride up with a southern gentleman and his son. I can say southern with absolute certainty because not only did the accent give it away, but he flat out told me that he was from TN. The conversation started as most do on a lift ride. Hellos, weather, first time, etc. Something like this:

Him: How y’all doing today?

Me: (Wondering if I’ve multiplied) Fine thanks, you?

Him: We’re doing great! Great day of skiing.

Mind you, his son says nothing this entire ride.

Me: Good to hear.

Him: So where ya from?

Me: (Because I’ve told this story many times today, and many times at Club Med) Pittsburgh originally, but now I live in Miami.

Him: Oh yeah? What do you do down there?

Me: I’m an Administrative Assistant.

Him: Oh? Where at?

I think that’s one too many personal questions at this point, but….

Me: A property management company.

Him: You been down there long?

Me: (Is this ride over yet?!?!) About 3 years now.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…..

Him: You gotta learn to speak mexican to live down there, huh?

Me: (Blank stare.) Guffaw!

First off, I didn’t capitalize Mexican to accentuate the way in which it was said. If nothing else, I do know punctuation and capitalization (as I hit spell check). Secondly, the brunt of the Hispanic population in Miami proper is Cuban although we do boast a large Mexican population. Third, my newly made redneck friend, if you’re going to be stereotypical, at least get it right, because learning to speak SPANISH goes a long way here.

He didn’t say much after I giggled in his face and thankfully, the ride was over shortly thereafter. By the way, southern gentleman, where did you get that gaiter? It’s such a lovely shade. Oh, wait, that’s your neck.

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