Part I: My trip to Montana was a mix of happy and sad right there side by side. The devastation of the flood has been followed by a summer of unusual greenery and a new course filled with some unworldly swimming holes.
Part II: I came home to a garden exploding with produce, so I have been canning. I made some fabulous salsa, but I will never be able to re-create it because I accidentally followed two recipes at the same time, as the wind was blowing the cookbook page back and forth. I started with a recipe for Zesty Salsa, then moved into one for Spicy Salsa, and then finished up with the first. The canning cookbook is fanatically fascist in it's insistence that home cooks cannot fiddle with recipes, but I canned it anyway.
Living dangerously and all that.
Part III: Boys went back to school.
Part IV: I snuck off to a thrift store and found some great buttons.
As I'm checking out the petroleum product fabric choices, a guy turns to me from the shoes and says, "You buy things here, wash them well and they don't cost so much as other stores."
I replied, "Yes, it's a good place to shop."
"I'm from Guyana. Do you know Guyana?"
I say, "Oh Guyana, sure." But I was thinking about washing shoes. Can it be done?
"You Know Guyana??"
"Yeah, South America, right?"
"You are Mexican?"
"Are you White?"
Crazy, but no one has ever looked me in the face and asked: "Are you White?" New experience and it totally threw me. I was flustered. I had a sliver of true empathy for all those people I have pissed off by saying, "where are you from?" while looking at them and trying to find a slot to place them in. "White" just sounds so thin, mild, boring, lacking. Not me.
"I am White" I pronounced. It felt weird. He still looked puzzled.
I sort of felt bad that I had completely messed with his world where, up to that moment, all white people do not know where Guyana is. I could sense the questioning could go on and on in this track, and I wanted to move on. "Excuse me," I said, "Can I get past you?" and I squeezed my cart by to look at a sewing machine cabinet.
He recovered himself and followed me to furnishings, "You work with someone from Guyana." It was said half as a fact, half as a question.
"No, I just know where Guyana is." I didn't add that I once embarrassed myself by not having any idea where it is. He finally left, deep in a state of racial recalibration.
What a thrifting trip. His "White" question did have an affect on me, and I found two cashmere sweaters in my size!
And what do you think about those buttons?