There are at least two new Asian families in the neighborhood. It brings great cheer to my heart to see fellow Asians swimming in the local sea of whiteness. The one family is championship material. Their kindergarten son wears impossibly perfect layered clothing and appears to be loved and revered by his peers. Grandpa walks him home. Grandpa wears fine threads as well, and always wears a Pittsburgh Pirates hat. Nothing says local like a “P” hat.
It’s the other family I worry about. Every morning Mom and son wait for the school bus across the street from my house. Mom has sonny wearing a mask, as is the custom in smoggy Asian cities:
This may not be child abuse in the strictest sense, but it’s a heartbreaking sight nonetheless. Poor kid! It’s a magnitude of obliviousness that is difficult for the local observer to process. It reminds me of a time in high school when I was in much the same situation.
During homecoming spirit week, one particular day was college spirit day. Or something like that. Basically we were supposed to wear a University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Depaul, etc. shirt. Sure a few kids wore Northern Illinois, or God forbid an Iowa Hawkeyes shirt, but they probably had good reason for their actions. What did I wear? The one college t-shirt I owned: The University of Western Ontario. It was a shirt that did more than just confuse my friends. It was simply not possible for them to process such a shirt or the existence of such an institution, or why anyone would knowingly or unknowingly wear such a shirt.
So, my fellow Asian friend, I wish you the best of luck with that smog filter. May you find a place in this world. If you stick around the hood, may you learn the unwritten rules of American culture. I pray that one day you will heal, as I have, from the wounds caused by those unappreciative of your blissful ignorance.