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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

ignorance isn't bliss

i know i will get shit from some coworkers for this, but my alarm in the morning is "talk of the town." yeah, i know it could be a rock station or something, but it's not.

anyway, i get to listen to folks call in (since that's mostly what the show's about anyway) and check out their opinions on stuff. i mostly disagree with what they say, but it's interesting nonetheless.

the other morning i wake up and they're in the middle of something. after a few seconds of shaking the cobwebs, i realize they're talking about the rapid rise of gas prices once more. the folks that call in like to announce the price of gas at certain gas stations throughout town (kind of spreading the word).

before i know it, this old codger calls up and i don't catch the beginning, but i caught the important part. he's says something like, "we oughta take out the women and children and explode an atom bomb like we did with china. except we shouldn't help them out afterwards like we did with china. the host, juke van oss, was polite and didn't correct him, simply said thanks for the call.

i made the assertion that they were talking about themiddle east, price of oil, opec, et cet. it all equals the price of gas going up.

then they got on this rant of being "american." they brought up an article i'd written the day before about an increased number of spanish language channels being offered in the area.

these jokers said what was that all about. we live in america and we shouldn't have all of those spanish channels because we speak english and we shouldn't have to cater to another language.

i turned off the radio soon after that. i was disturbed by the ignorance and sheer stupidity of the callers. these people call in uninformed about a topic and start yakking away on air for everyone to hear. i don't know what's running through their heads.

about that gentleman calling in concerning the atomic bombs: it wasn't china where we dropped a few atomic bombs, it was japan. there's a big dfference in region, size of country, people, language, culture, religion, form of government. please inform yourself before calling in. also, don't be stupid about dropping an atomic bomb on middle eastern countries. that's so foolish and would accomplish nothing except inciting more violence.

on the spanish language channels: well, man, all i have to say is too freaking bad. get used to it. spanish is big. why do we have this mentality in this country of only speaking english. any other language is inferior or in correct. that is partly why we're behind other countries in learning. their cihldren learn two, three or four languages in school and are fluent in them as they grown old. at least our schools around here teach spanish to students at an early age.

also, to this caller, are you feeling a little uncomfortable? too much spanish means too many latinos for your own good? a little uncomfortable with latinos running around.

all i have to say is that the latino population will continue to grow. there's nothing you can do about it. i think it's a wonderful thing. it's called diversity. it's something this country needs to accept. we're not a "white" country, man. it's not comprised of only anglos. so this attitude of "white" only an catering to whites only just doesn't fly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

new kid on the block

we've lived in our house for about five months. most of that time was spent indoors because of the winter months. we didn't get to meet many of our neighbors and only saw a handful here and there, mostly shovelling driveways or sidewalks.

now that the weather has changed for the better, neighbors are out and about cleaning or clearing away weeds, branches and doing spring time stuff.

while i was puttering around the backyard sunday, i started to chat with our neighbor lisa over the wooden fence (a la time allen and his neighbor). i made my way to her backyard and we got to chatting.

while we talked, her neighbor's grandson (they share a driveway) was riding around the drive on his bicycle (with training wheels). he's 5 years old.

after we were done talking, i made my way back and i overheard lisa and the boy talking and he was asking for my name.

less than 30 minutes later, he came over to my driveway to ask if i could help him find his lost pokemon ball. it had apparently gone over the fence while he and his grandfather played. i followed him to his backyard and he sowed me where. i tried to get up over the fence and i told him to be careful. it felt a bit awkward. i sort of left because i didn't know what to do.

a little later i hear a knock on the backdoor. it's him. he's got this big plastic ball in his hands. he asks if i want to play ball with him. it's getting late and i tell him i am going to eat but that we'd do it another time.

he persists as many small children do. he came back still later. this time he brough a little girl with him. they wanted to know if "noel could come and play." i don't know if thelittle girl thought a small child lived in the house or not. she got on her bike and left. i didn't go out. i still hadn't eaten yet.

then monday afternoon, as i'm starting to walk to work, i see him a few houses down on the bike. i notice his training wheels are off. i tell him to be careful and not to fall,he says he'll try, and i am off for work.

dawn tells me that he stopped by later that evening, knocking on the door. then on tuesday, he came back and knocked again. dawn told him i was at work and wouldn't be home until after he'd gone to sleep. apparently he threw his arms up in the air in comic frustration. he walked off without saying bye or anything.

i think it's funny how this boy is hanging out. i've never seen him before sunday. i really didn't make an impression with him since i didn't speak to him while at lisa's house.

who knows why little boys do things. they just do them. i think he's the only child in the house, aong with his grandparents, his mother and sister.
maybe he wants some male companionship. sure, why not. the only problem is while he's a kid with little to do except play, i have work to do around the house. so i'll have to interact with him here and there when i can.

it makes you feel good, though, that some kid is taking an interest. i guess i'm not that scary after all.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

migrant fair

i've atended the migrant fair for four years now, i think. yeah, i went to my first one at west ottawa in 2004 and have been back every year since.

the event usualy takes place late on saturday and features games, food, music and informational booths. to me, it's gotten bigger over the years (the fifth one they've held).

the migrant fair is meant to welcome back migrants to the area who've been gone for the winter. the migrant season is just beginning, having started a few weeks ago, with migrants trickling in since mid-february.

after trying out the fair earlier in the day or later in the season, it's now in late march and late in the day. this allows the migrants who're already working to come home, get ready, and attend with their families. it makes it more of a family event. it's nice, too, to see fathers, mothers and kids alike at the fair.

the fair gives migrant families a chance to get together and to get to know each other. as i was told before, once the migrant season gets under way, the families don't get a chance to interact because they leave for the fields early in the day and come lhome late, tired and ready for the following day's work, after spending time with their own family.

while music played, there were families eating, talking, with kids walking around, playing with the clown, playing games, going on the moon walk, and just having a good time.

the fair reminds me of one of the fiestas held in south texas (minus the booze), where families are gathered for a good time. the camraderie in the room is good.

while i didn't try the food (which was fine, because we went out with D and Mig later for a late snack), it sure smelled good.

that's another thing i like, the unselfishness of the sponsors who helped the west ottawa migrant program. they donated food and money and even volunteers (holland christian brought over 50 students to help out with games). that makes me feel good that migrants are welcome in the community and not seen as a hindrance.

viva los mexicanos!