These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

small world

i experienced a strange occurrence tonight while at a township planning commission meeting. it's probably one of the weirdest things that's happened to me in quite awhile.

the meeting started at 6 p.m. and i thought i was home free after 30 minutes. the item i went for came up and was done. then the chairman said something about the people being there for this last item. i froze, deer in the headlights type of thing. i knew i was in for the long haul. the meeting finished at 10, FOUR hours later. crazy shit, huh?

anyway, i stepped out several times during the meeting, tired of sitting down. i went out front and came across some hard candy in a candy dish. as i walked back, a woman came up and got a candy. she said, "you got a candy?" i said yes and expressed my tiredness.

she asked if i worked for the paper and i introduced myself by name. she smiled and said, "i read your stories all the time." i smiled back. then she spelled out my name. not too unusual, but i was happy she got it right.

then i said something else and she tells me pretty matter of factly, "you're from texas..." and some other stuff. she kept talking. i reached out and tried to halt her.

i was surprised. i'd never met her before, yet she knew i was from texas. it was a little scary. it's often that way when you meet someone you've never met and they know things about you.

"how do you know i'm from texas?"
"it's the way you talk," she replied.
i was surprisd. no one's every picked that out about me. they might know i'm not from up north, mabybe i'm latino, but she pegged it.

she asked where i was from in texas. i told her. she smiled and said she was from corpus christi. she rattled off the names of nearby cities and a famous restaurant in robstown (joe cotton's). the tol dme what high school she graduated from and then she moved up here.

we talked about latinos and living up here as opposed to loving in south texas. it was a nice intermission to the meeting.

i had to excuse myself and we both went back into the meeting room, but i couldn't get what she'd said outof my head. it was cool meeting up with someone who's from the same area as me. though, she grew up about 70 miles away, for texas that's small potatoes in terms of distance.

this brings me to another point. the other night i talked to my friend marla from calif. i said something and continued talking. she stopped me and commented on how i'd said the word "not." she laughed and told me it sounded different than i normally say it. i said it again and i guess i stretched the vowel. i laughed, too. on occasion i find myself stretching those vowels. maybe i'm becoming a northerner? who knows. i do stretch the vowl in "and." sometimes i comes out sounding "aaaand" but with a lilt in the "a" a drop in the letter, i guess.

so i don't know. i try to blend in when i can. call me chameleon man. hmmm, a new superhero? possibly.


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