I’m waiting for my Tennessee sistah friend at the Waffle
House, where I realize that I’ll have more luck finding people who’ve voted to
make amerikkka great again than at Whole Foods, Starbucks or even Trader Joe’s.
And sure enough, the bouncy blue-eyed white-trying-to-be-black waitress with dyed dark brown
Farrah Fawcett hair and unnaturally tanned skin that resembles a stale coffee
ground stain on a white table cloth, comes over to ask for my (non) order. No
other customers are in the restaurant but the 6 or so staff is restlessly
waiting to welcome all.
We get into the standard “what are you doing here”
question while I find out she’s originally from the rural north of Chicago, has been to
San Francisco once but doesn’t travel much although she did go to Costa Rico,
were the food was awful because they didn’t know how to make hamburgers! It was
stringy if you can imagine that!
I ask her about the recent presidency and she admits she
doesn’t read the newspapers, or listen to the news on the radio or the telly as
she has other programs to watch during that time slot so she doesn’t really
know what is happening.
When I press her a little further, she tells me that
because things were so bad previous to tRump, it’s going to take him a while to
get amerikkka great again.
I ask her what was so bad before. She moves closer to me
and says the problem we have in this country is overpopulation. We are letting
in too many people, as she sweeps her arms to indicate how overcrowded this
spacious part of Tennessee is. We are at least 30 miles from Nashville
surrounded by forests and hills and open sky.
Her accent gets more and more southern sounding the more
she talks. She tells me in a conspiratorially loud whisper immigrants are
taking our jobs, getting free health care, education, free food and places to
live. Her eyes grow wider, leaving the best for last as she claims they don’t
even have to pay taxes for a long, long time.
We should be taking care of our own instead of letting
them into the country and then, worse, taking care of THEM.
I ask her if she personally knows of any of these
immigrants and for the first time, she looks surprised, maybe realizing I might
not agree but instead, admitting she doesn’t know them “personally” (her finger
quotes) but don’t I see them all around, driving brand new huge cars and
spending lots of money?
I ask to her horror and vigorous shake of her fluffy tresses, if immigrants live in her
neighborhood or maybe work at Waffle House, to which she shakes her head. I
explain that because she doesn’t watch the news, read any papers, listen to
current events on the radio – let alone personally know any immigrants – where
does she gets her "facts" (my finger quotes) from?
My friend has arrived so I terminate the interview,
thanking her while I tell her she has a lot of her facts totally wrong &
suggest we talk again when we're finished eating.
I am filled with immense sadness as I turn to joyfully
great my dear sistah friend, the bigoted waitress put aside for now.