Friday, November 18, 2005

I Heart Stone Phillips

Oh Stone Phillips. So much the handsome you are.

I was obsessed with Dateline NBC when I was in junior high. (I was a huge geek, and this was before Dateline went all trashy and stupid.) I used to daydream about being an anchor, and I used to WRITE LETTERS to Stone Phillips. "Save that seat next to you for me, Stone! I'm coming!" Then I got to high school and discovered a very unfortunate lack of public speaking skillz. (In med school sometimes they used to make us watch videos of ourselves examining fake patients, and I would be, like, embarassed FOR myself as I watched them. I play with my hair a lot. I swivel back and forth unstoppably on that little wheelie stool. I'm a huge pen twirler. How annoying.)

I was just reminded of this today, when my PI asked me if I could take her car to pick up her kids from school for the next few days. (Very important research duties -- I decided not to tell her about my 4 tickets and upcoming court date.) Anyway, her kids are the most adorable, well-behaved little set of twins, (And I don't even usually like kids) not to mention SUPER, SUPER SMART.

Sometimes I wonder what adults used to think of me when I was a kid. I'm sure they just thought I was really shy and quiet. I think the whole "Indian" thing threw them off. (Centralia wasn't exactly a beacon for diversity and culture.) I bet they had no idea about the 27 letters I wrote to Stone Phillips and my secret obsession with Dateline.

When I grew up I was never really exposed to any positive aspects of being brown, outside of the brown community, except for this one really weird time. We had these neighbors whose grandkids would come visit every summer, and one of the girls was my age, so we would play together. Once we were sitting in their backyard in a little wading pool, and these teenage boys in the adjacent backyard started catcalling us, like "Take it off!" etc. (Dude, we were like 7. Motherfucking pedophiles.)

Anyway my friend started screaming at them, and I shushed her, "Stop that!! Your grandma might think I'm doing it too and she'll tell my mom!" (And then I'd get a WHUPPIN'.) To which my friend replied, "Oh no, Grandma says Indians are very peaceful people." And I was just stunned, like, in the what now? Because clearly she hadn't met my family if she thought we were PEACE-LOVING.

I had no idea what the hell that meant til a few years later when it suddenly occurred to me -- Ooh!! I'm like THE MAHATMA. It was kind of a nice change from the usual, "Ha ha you WORSHIP HAMBURGERS and McDONALD'S IS YOUR SHRINE."

(And last summer I was in Centralia and I went to Big Lots to buy some baskets to make floral arrangements and I SWEAR TO GOD the checkout guy was "hamburger worship" asshole from 2nd grade. That felt so good. "Hell yeah I want those baskets gift-wrapped, BEE-YOTCH. And I hope you give yourself a paper cut." Of course, he has a brain the size of a PINHEAD so he probably didn't even remember, but whatever.)

Just watched: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Did anyone notice that Willy Wonka's dad is Lord Dooku from Star Wars?

She watched the clerk fill out the form and mentally high-fived herself. No one’s gonna know that I’m American! She had watched countless Bollywood movies and worn out her Berlitz CDs for this very moment, to fit in seamlessly in the city of her heritage.

“Yeh leejiye aap ki package.”

“Thanks,” she said reflexively. Damn.

1 comment:

Salil said...

hahahaha! I do this all the time. Every time I take a taxi or buy desi groceries, I inevitably return the Hindi fare-thee-well with some dumb-sounding Americanism.