Friday, December 22, 2006

A Collection of Christmas Shorts

How's your Christmas shopping? Done yet? Mine is. And I didn't step one foot into a mall or buy anything online. This year, I went to the local bookstore and went ballistic.

I bought every book in sight. Did that look cool? I bought it.
Did that look dumb? I bought it.
Could I give that as an "emergency gift"? Bought it.
Maybe my dad would like that book? Bought it.
"101 Reasons Why You're A Whore" A perfect gift for someone I love. Bought that too!

Next stop, Glarus Chocolatier.

I love chocolate. Since I was a little boy, it's been one of my addictions. Nestle Crunch, Kit Kat, Snickers, Hershey Kisses - I've loved them all but lately they've been falling flat. What was once a secret indulgence of Kit Kat bars is now a hollow experience after finding quality chocolate. Just a couple of years ago, Glarus opened in Timonium in the Swiss tradition and now I'm addicted.

This isn't some sort of commercialized Godiva or Lindt, this stuff is fresh. And delicious. And pricey. But so worth it. The milk chocolate just melts in the mouth - a sensuous and sticky experience dancing on your tongue. It's sin. One needs to repent and go to confession after a Glarus experience.

So I went ballistic there too. Boxes and boxes piled high with truffles. This Christmas it's books and chocolate.

For the past two days, the morning commute to Towson has been glorious. Almost no traffic. No backups. Nothing except smooth sailing all the way in. If the morning commute was like this everyday, Baltimore could be heaven. With a high per capita murder rate.

As I'm cruising up York Road by the fire station, an elderly gentleman starts crossing the street. He's pretty far ahead and there's very little chance I could run him over (unless he stopped), but I do have to lighten up on the pedal and slow my rate of speed slightly which is a minor irritation. I think about blowing my horn and yelling expletitives at him when I start to think that it's Christmas Time and I should love my fellow man more than usual.

What happens when something happens and road rage consumes you? You want to yell expletitives at the other person and give him/her (I'm equal opportunity) The Finger. Yelling out "FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!!!" is strangely comforting and soothing while driving the rage equally in the other person who counters the tirade and, sometimes, things escalate out of hand from there. Once in a while, you're Tupac Shakur and you end up riddled with bullets, but most of the time, you just continue on more pissed off than normal.

So I thought to myself, It's Christmas. Why not yell at people with the Christmas Spirit? See how they react. Would they still be as pissed off? Therefore, I've decided that the next time someone irritates me and forces me into Road Rage Mode, I'm going to yell:


Somehow, I don't think they'll be able to continue...

Several mornings a week find me at the local bagel bakery ordering a toasted everything bagel with lox spread and a toasted salt bagel with butter. The bagels are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like a good bagel should be. And like most foodservice establishments, Towson Hot Bagel is staffed and (unlike most foodservice establishments) owned by Hispanics (who I suspect are of Mexican descent).

The guy who actually prepares my bagels is pretty friendly, offering a smile and a hello every now and then. But the guy at the register never smiles at me. Sure he smiles at the white people, but never at me. And I think I finally know why.

Sometimes people mistake me for being Hispanic and come up to me speaking Spanish. I'm a Filipino kid who grew up in conservative Baltimore. I don't speak Spanish. I barely can speak my own language: English. I live in the Horse Country. I drive European cars. I wear khakis. I'm about as white as they come around here.

But to the casual observer none of that matters. I don't speak Spanish.

I think these guys see me and think I'm Hispanic. Therefore, they expect me to speak Spanish to them. And since I don't, they probably think I'm sort of white-washed sell-out that has forsaken La Raza for La Perla when the truth is that I've sold out Peking Duck for Duck Confit.

So what to do, what to do? Do I figure out some way to let them know that I'm not Hispanic and not a La Raza sellout? Maybe then they'll think I'm cool enough to chat with like they do with all the white people. Or maybe I'll just roll with it. They're courteous enough. And they've got good bagels. And they're convenient to my commute.

And maybe, just maybe, they'll hook me up with a hottie Latina to "bring me back to my roots."

Hope springs eternal.