Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome to Claremont. Now go home.

For these stories to make sense, you need to understand that if you start at Claremont's southern border a.k.a. the 10 Freeway, every block north that you drive, towards the mountains, the average income of residents on that block is $10,000 more than the people one block south.
I.  The bicyclist
There is a lady who rides my Metroink train to work from Claremont, to Union Station, just like me. She is really skinny, is around 50 or 55, and she always dresses in all black.  Always.  And she wears a black ribbon around her throat (this was considered to be really sexy in 1967), and usually wears a black beret.
She usually brings her bike onto the train, and gets onto it in downtown LA. The last thing I see of her in the morning is her mounting the bike, and riding off.
The other evening we were in the same car.  I only noticed her as the train was pulling into Claremont, and I stood up, and began struggling with my over-stuffed backpack.  She had to stop, blocked by my backpack, until I turned sideways and let her pass.  I didn't say anything like, "Excuse me." or "Pardon me."  Usually I do, but I was in a panic to get my backpack's straps over my shoulders, and passengers understand the rush to make it to the door, and not get stuck on the train.  In other words, it's acceptable to be rude under certain circumstances.  I got my backpack on, and started down the train stairs, right behind her.  Once we were both at the train door, I stood behind her, ready to get off right behind her.  With her back to me, I asked, "Where's your bicycle?"
She didn't turn and answer me.  Her back turned to me, she looked at the ground, and muttered, "It's at my house. In northern Claremont..."
Was she saying that to me?  Was she answering my question about her bike?  What did she mean by northern Claremont?  It turned out that she was: she turned around, leaned forward, got into my face, and hissed, "...where you don't live!"
She abruptly turned around, and stepped off the train.
II. The bicyclists
I went birding at Claremont Wilderness Park, tonight, after work.  It's at the north edge of town.
The park consists of dirt fire roads that go up into the riparian oak foothills between Claremont, and Mount Baldy.  A couple of years ago I found some summering (breeding?) Black Swifts that had shown up from Argentina, so I walked up there last week, and got lucky: they were back.  Problem is, after I reported them last Thursday, none of the other birders who have shown up have seen them.  I decided to go there after work, tonight, to find and photograph them.  No such luck.  I stood at the right spot, along the side of the dirt road for over an hour, and never saw any Black Swifts.  What I did see was lot of people hiking up or down the trail for exercise.  I was there so long, that I actually saw some people who passed me when they arrived, pass me going the other direction, on the way back down to the parking lot.
Once in a while you see one or two guys on mountain bikes.  No problem.
So, this one woman was walking uphill with her 2 little kids, and her mom (the grandma).  The woman was Hispanic, which in around here is code for first-generation Mexican immigrant.  She was ridiculously attractive. She was smokin' hot, and she knew it.  She exuded that whole "I'm too sexy for you" i.e. "I only date men who drive Mercedes" attitude. 
Quite frankly, I can't stand women of any ethnic group, religion, or political party who are attractive, and spend their waking hours obsessing over how beautiful--read: valuable--they are.
There is a woman at my job who is an immigrant from the Middle East, and she is gorgeous.  Seriously: she is stunningly beautiful.
And the reason that I like her is that she is nice.  She is friendly, polite, professional, just a nice human being.  The thing I like about her is that she gets it. She knows that I'm married, I'm not picking up on her, and not talking with her because she's beautiful.
I talk with her because she's smart, and knows things that I need to know.
It really reduces the stress levels at work.
So the Hot Mexican Mama is walking uphill on the dirt road, trying to corral her kids while scanning every man between 14 and 94 years old, to see if they're checking out her bod. 
They must be, because I'm hot.
So a group of 8--count 'em: 8 rich Claremont white dudes on very expensive mountain bikes (You don't buy these at Wal-Mart: they custom-make them for you at the shop in The Village) come barreling down the dirt road at high speed.  They were wearing their cutesie skin-tight, yellow, black, & red bike outfits, with matching helmets.  These morons were spread out all over the whole width of the dirt road, not single-file, or in 2 rows; they were hogging up the whole damn road at the time of the day when boatloads of people get off work, and go hiking on it.
The bicyclists collectively hit the brakes, in order to not run over the little kids.
If they exchanged words with the Hot Mama, I didn't hear it: I was focused on finding Black Swifts.
But, not 20 feet away, as they rolled downhill, the lead bicyclist--Der Bergrad Fuhrer--turned his head and nonchalantly said to her, "Go home to Pomona."
Oh. My. God.
I don't want to be white, any more.  Where's the office where I can go undo this?
III. The Mexican of Costco
My wife is chubby, and she has long, straight black hair.  Obviously, she is Mexican.
Except she's not.
She is Polish, German, and Scottish (her grandfather's last name was Duncan).
So here's what happens when we go to Costco:  People who speak little-to-no English walk up to her, and start talking to her in Spanish.  Obviously, she's Mexican, and she's with a blond white guy (me) so she probably speaks English.  Hey, she can help us!  Or should I say, "¡Ella puede ayudarnos!" ?
That's the other thing: I speak much better Spanish than she does.
So, when they talk to her in Spanish, and she says with a total gringa accent, "No hablo espanol" they get pissed at her.  Now she's a bad Mexican: Thinks she's white. Thinks she's better than us.  She's a pocha.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have heard of people being elitist but I do believe this story drives the point home. But I know that you know from experience about the hot women in this town. They all act like they will increase your net worth, provided that you have the net worth to land them in the first place. But I'm not bitter!