As I was turning into the parking lot I noticed a small gathering of Hispanic men. Now, I know that most of you are familiar with the undocumented workers who congregate at busy intersections waiting to be offered money to do all sorts of manual labor somewhat like a prostitute, if Home Depot of Lowe’s were involved in that sort of thing.
Never having engaged one of these “workers” lest I ruin any future chances of becoming a Supreme Court Justice, I usually pay them no heed and go about my merry way doing all manner of glamorous activities like buying potatoes and sugar-free popsicles in bulk. As I turned into the lot, one of the men signaled me with his finger and looked at me with a questioning eye and hopeful look on his face. Although I was flattered that he thought that I might be of the stature to procure his services (I’m not wealthy but I have more money than, well, HIM) I was immediately caught off guard wondering how to respond. I didn’t want to ignore him; it’s not his fault he’s an undocumented worker in our country. Well, I suppose it is his fault, seeing as how he came here illegally. But are we to assess fault for someone trying to make a better life? I don’t want to get all liberal sounding, but, are they all here illegally or is the economy so bad that even legitimate immigrants are out of work and desperate to provide for their families? Even if I didn’t have any work for could I just hand him money? Would that be offensive? Would he care? Do I?
You must understand I pride myself in being a very compassionate and generous person, unless I am behind you in traffic or the express lane at Target. No, old man in front of me last Tuesday, 27 cans of tuna do not count as 1 item just because they are identical. On the other hand, if it were an old lady, I’d think, “Bless her heart” and simply wait my turn. A gentleman is always a gentleman after all, when it comes to a lady. Other dudes, regardless of age, are on their own.
Unsure of how to respond without giving him any reason to think I needed his services, regardless of what they were, I tried to smile without any erroneous signaling lest I inadvertently request something through an incorrect nod of the head or too lengthy eye contact and end up with an unwanted employee, bag of drugs or live chicken. Is there some sort of code? Shouldn't there be an information sheet? Where do I get one? I felt a little like a spy. Like Jason Bourne from all those books and movies. I feel sure I could be mistaken for a suave, intelligent CIA agent. At the very least I feel I could be mistaken for someone named Jason.
I guess it’s a good thing I’m not in the CIA. For one, the CIA has secrets, people. And if you know me, you know I can’t hold water. I’d be on the phone with my sister saying, “Ooh, let me tell you who we tried to assassinate today. You will NEVER guess, but his name rhymes with ‘Dennis Quaid’s brother’.” Plus, I can’t beat up an assassin with a rolled up newspaper. I can barely kill a bug with a rolled up newspaper. I usually resort to stomping it with my shoe and that doesn’t seem to be an effective method for saving America from the terrorists, I think we can all agree.
In my zeal to non-offensively, non-signal this man who may have simply been trying to scratch his nose as far as I know, I somehow ended up leaving the parking lot through the ‘enter only’ lane and almost turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Trying to maneuver my car in the right direction while hiding my shame and ignoring the honking from the other customers who were in fact not attempting to scratch their noses (I am quite familiar with THAT particular gesture), I was able to head back down the road to the Target from whence I came, as I had forgotten to purchase get breath spray for our dog Lulu. I’m not sure exactly when she began dining on dirty diapers filled with athlete’s-foot-flavored bilge water, but something’s making her breath reek. And how am I supposed to convincingly say, “Who’s a good girl, yes you are” if I’m trying to breathe through my mouth?
I’m not quite sure where I was going with this entry, but suffice it to say, I made it home in one piece sans illegal alien but with some basics for the pantry, you know stuff like a $5 DVD of “Fletch”, an awesome movie starring the guy my sister thinks is Bill Murray, a Big Grab ® of Doritos®, two 9-volt batteries and 3 packs of spearmint Extra. I told you I was susceptible to advertisement.
Once I got home I immediately regretted not stopping to get a worker or two, undocumented or not. You see, today was housecleaning day and I was not in the mood, do you hear me? I have no problem with cleaning up after myself and when I lived alone, my house looked like it was unoccupied most of the time as I am very particular and very neat. However, while living in a house with multiple bedrooms means you can have houseguests and roommates, it also means you have to clean it all, even the rooms you don't ever use. Yes, sun porch, I'm talking to you. And the maid duties have increased far more than the occupants as there is a swirling vortex of disorganization that is my father residing with me. Things on shelves move out of their proper alignment simply by him walking through the living room. When he sits at the dining table, food leaps from his plate onto the placemat and table. And don't even get me started on the delicate maneuvering required to sweep around more yarn than a nursing home craft room or a Brownie troop trying to earn their "Knitting" badge.
Although, now that I think about it, how would I have communicated with this gentleman of the parking lot what I needed from him anyway? Do the men from Mexico clean, seeing as how Mexico doesn't seem to be a hot bed of women's lib, based on what I read on the news. And how do you say clean in Spanish? I only know how to say "Where's the party?" (Donde esta la fiesta), "I want two chickens" (Yo quiero dos pollos) and "that statue is Greek" (esa estatua es griega). This, I feel sure, is not going to get me clean bathrooms or a fully dusted living room, although it might get me a cooked meal, an invitation to a party or a look of confusion as to the statue in question.
Ah, well, at least I have my chicken sandwich from Jack-in-the-Box to sustain me through this cleaning binge. But now I can't find it. I'll bet Daddy ate it. Como se dice, "Big ol' hog?"