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Oh, Good. Let’s Talk About Race Again.

Over the last five years, I’ve written here and there about race. It’s clearly a very big part of my life. And it feels like racial tensions are rising higher and higher every day.

(Like police officers Supporting Darren Wilson, or these idiots yelling at the Ferguson protesters, or a black man being shot for holding a toy bb gun because it is shoot-first-ask-later.)

As usual, there’s this sense of uselessness. I’m not sure what I can be doing. I try to be as vocal as possible, and talk about it and write about it. Which helps, maybe?

There’s a lot of diversity-talk happening in the publishing industry right now, which is amazing. There is a gross lack of diversity in the workforce, and people are starting realize it (though, it did take them a minute). Conversations are finally starting to happen about how to fix that problem. And of course, We Need Diverse Books really jump-started the conversation by pointing out our abysmal lack of publishing with and of PoCs*.

But this isn’t enough. Books are my world, obviously. And we will hopefully have more diverse books to have an effect on the way people think in the future. But they’re still a very small part of the world at large.

I want everyone I know to be as angry as I am when movies come out with all white-casts (ahem, Skeleton Twins and What If). I want them to notice when a book or TV series has no major characters who are PoC. I want them to care when movies like Moses have all white leads and have PoCs cast as slaves and thieves. I want them to notice when video games have no PoCs or just stereotypes. Or to notice when their job or club or whatever are all one color. I want them to care about cultural appropriation and not support it. I don’t want them to laugh it off. I don’t want them to rationalize it away. And I don’t want to be written off or have eyes rolled when I point these things out.

I don’t want to feel like the angry brown girl.

I want people to realize how important this is.

This never turns off for me. There is never a moment when I am not aware of my race or how it is being reflected in society.

I want to see more of a response and recognition to how we’re represented in the media, because that is where normalization comes from. Until there’s more representation, we’re still seen as other or exotic. We’re not seen as real people. Normalization means that maybe we won’t get talked about in a certain way, or reacted against so violently, or just maybe we’ll be the default setting instead of the afterthought.

I’m not calling out white people for being there, I’m calling out content creators, companies, casting directors, anyone who makes a decision about who is on the screen or in the workplace or on the page for not doing more to represent society as it is. And I’m calling out people who don’t need to care about it for not caring about it.

*PoC is how I refer to myself, so, uh, apologies if it is not your jam.

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06/11/2004, My Mom Tries to Chat Arranged Marriage

This has been happening for ten years, just want you guys to know that. (Taken from my old-old-old livejournal account because I can’t actually believe this happened ten years ago.)

 

Mom: Preeti, c’mon, think about it, we have offers.
me: Offers?!?! .. right.
Mom: He’ s a doctor!
me: He’s already a doctor?! how old is he, 40?
(Heeral: hahaha, i need a yoooung brrrriiiide)
Mom: C’mon, you can do whatever you want. you can hire people to do everything, cook, clean, whatever.
Me: and all i have to do is marry someone I don’t know.
Mom: No, you’ll get to know him!
Me: Mom. i’m trying to play video games. no more talking about marriage.
Mom: You have to be married by the time you’re 26!
Me: Mom! VIDEO GAMING!

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Don’t Ignore that Instinct, Kids

Let me tell you a tale. One about marriage and status. Or maybe just one about marriage.

Kind of.

So, my relationship with my mother has reached a tipping point. That tipping point being that I am 30 and (gasp, shock etc) unmarried.

What this means is that my mom has been mining an Indian marriage site for prospective husbands for me.

(Turns out it’s hard to say no to things when your mom starts crying.)

Any way, about a week ago she began in earnest. First she sent me a few profiles of Doctors in the tristate area. I looked at one or two and immediately rejected the one who was looking for a “descent” girl. We’ll call him Dr. D.

My mom’s reaction?

“Preeti, you have to meet people, you can’t tell from their profile!”

“Mom, I don’t like his pictures, and he couldn’t take the time to proofread his profile?”

“Preeti!”

Then five minutes of yelling after which I think my exact words were,

“FINE JUST GIVE HIM MY CONTACT INFORMATION JEEZ.”

Any way, so he texts me on the Friday of BEA. I text him back on Saturday asking very politely if he’d like to meet for coffee.

I hear nothing back until Tuesday at 2:30.

text 4

Ignoring the three days it took him to respond, well, that’s an hour and a half’s notice, so I asked if we could meet up the following evening. He agreed and we decided to meet at 6:30. But after confirming he says,

text 5

Instinct is saying: This guy is going to be terrible.

I reiterated that no, tonight would not work, perhaps next week was better.

text 6

I don’t know either, guys.

The next morning I get:

text 1

As if we hadn’t already confirmed it?

That evening, I show up on Bedford & N. 8th at 6:25 and take a seat outside a bakery and text to let him know I’m there. At 6:28:

text 2

I stand and look around. Nope, no Indians.

Then my phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Dr. D: Hi Preeti? Are you here?
Me: Yes… I’m .. outside.
Dr. D: Oh, well I just parked and I have to go to the bank so is it okay if I’m ten minutes late?
Me: Sure, I’ll be outside.

Great. Okay.

He finally shows up around 6:40-6:45, and after getting some juice and a snack, we sit outside to chat. Mostly about him being a doctor. And how hard his life is. Because he’s a doctor. He really needs a wife who is going to be there for him with a cup of coffee when he gets home after a long, hard day.

Dr. D: I mean, when we get married in six months…
Me: o.O

Later, chatting about how he wants to open his own practice.

Dr. D: Well, I’d need you for the green card, of course.
Me: O.O

After ranting for a few minutes on how Americans hate immigrants, and how they blame immigrants for everything, he finally asks me a question about what I do. I start to go into children’s publishing, but he interrupts with:

Dr. D: You know, I have a lot of interesting stories. I’ve had a lot of experiences that other people haven’t had. I lived in Manhattan for a year.

He proceeds to tell me a somewhat amusing anecdote about this old Indian lady he used to live with. I told him that he could definitely self-publish.

There was much talk of how he couldn’t really see himself living in NYC for much longer. I’ve by now realized that I made a huge mistake in agreeing to this, so I keep doubling down on my intent to live here for as long as possible.

“Yeah, I really need to be here for my work.”
“I just can’t really see myself living anywhere else.”
“New York is obviously the best city in the world.”
etc, etc.

I think he’s getting the hint when he starts talking about all the other ladies he has to meet still, because he has to make a decision. He’s not getting any younger. He’s going to meet this girl in Arizona and in California. Then abruptly asks, “Hey what kind of food do you like?”

Me: Oh, uh, so sorry. Didn’t realize we were going to have food. I have an appointment. Very important. Author appointment.

He walks me to the train, which was nice, but then says: “I think this went well, let’s see each other again.”

Me: I’ll have to check my schedule, I’m out of town this weekend.
Dr. D.: Oh right, yeah, I’ll have to check my schedule, too. I mean, I’m meeting those girls in Arizona and California.
Me: Okay, well, nice meeting you…
Dr. D.: Yes, okay. Bye.

It was all terrible.

But it gets more terrible, BECAUSE THE STORY’S NOT OVER YET, GUYS.

I go to meet up with Jenn at Word to tell her all about my woefully wasted evening. Maybe an hour in, I get a text from Dr. D. I’ll just let you read the whole thing.

text 3

And that’s the story about how I’m not going to marry an asshole.

 

 

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Flipping Tables Left and Right

This is really what my life is like during the work day. And this is really how Roommate and I speak to each other.

Me:  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Me:  ┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`Д´)ノ︵ ┻━┻
TWO TABLES
Him:  okayyyyyy
just gonna
back up slowly
toward the dooooor
(fucking psycho geez)
Me:  (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
FLYING TABLE
Him:  OK THAT IS QUITE ENOUGH YOUNG LADY
Me:  ┻━┻ ︵ ¯\(ツ)/¯ ︵ ┻━┻
i dun give a fuck flippin tables
P.S. I’m working on a real post, I swear. One that will be smart and will say important words. They  might even be in coherent sentences. Oh, and it will definitely involve a gif or two. I promise.

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Actual G-Chat conversations with my Roommate.

And why I am constantly “accidentally capslocking” at other people.

Him:  SO I WAS AT UNIQLO
AND IT WAS CROWDED SO
I WAS LIKE YOU KNOW, TAKE THE ELEVATOR, EASIER THAN TRYING TO GO THROUGH THE CROWD
AND I’M LOOKING AT THE TROUSERS, YOU KNOW, AND JUST NOTHING IN 30X32
JUST NOTHING
AND I GUESS I COULD GET THEM HEMMED FOR FREE
BUT I WAS LIKE
YOU KNOW, I DON’T WANT TO COME BACK TOMORROW AND HAVE TO PICK THEM UP
SINCE TOMORROW, YOU KNOW
MAYA’S HAVING HER THING
AND I WAS THINKING OF GOING TO THE GYM BUT I DUNNO IF I’LL HAVE TIME
FOR THAT AND A NAP
AND I LIKE TO TAKE A NAP ON FRIDAYS BEFORE I DO ANYTHING
SO ANYWAY
I’M LOOKING THROUGH THE SHIRTS
AND EVERYTHING’S THESE MADRAS PATTERNS
AND IT’S JUST WEIRD COLOR CHOICES, YOU KNOW
SO I’M THINKING
MAYBE INSTEAD I SHOULD GO WITH THE SOLID COLOR LINEN SHIRTS
BUT NOT LONG SLEEVED
SHORT SLEEVED
BECAUSE IT’S SUMMER AND ALL

Me:  FIRST OF ALL
I READ THAT LIKE YOU WERE SHOUTING AT ME THE WHOLE TIME
WHICH MAKES ME ASSUME THAT YOUR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE IS CONSTANTLY YELLING AT YOU
WHICH IS AWESOME
BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO BE YELLED AT
SECONDLY
STOP USING ME AS YOUR GODDAMN SOUNDING BOARD
YOUR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE IS REALLY BORING
AND I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR DUMB SHIRTS

Him
:  SO I WAS LOOKING AT THE LINEN SHIRTS

AND THEY HAD SOME NICE COLORS
BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO REPLICATE SOME OF THE COLORS THAT I ALREADY HAVE IN MY WARDROBE

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Missed Connections, in True Life

I’ve been terrible about Hurling Words, writing too much for corporate America to concentrate on my own thoughts. Damn if I am falling into a rat race trap here. (I should mention that my language may reflect the amount of Westerns I’ve been watching lately).

That being said, I had a Missed Connections experience recently, and I thought it would be an excellent way to return to your good graces if I shared it with all you kind people out there.

Let’s begin the story – Once upon a time…

It was a Saturday night in Williamsburg. It was a night of New York coincidence, warm bars, and loud music, but that’s not really what our tale’s about. This one starts at the end. Because, you see, I was on-my-way-home. Which meant walking arm in arm with just the loveliest ladyfriend a girl could have and being assaulted by foul subway graffiti.

The platform was full of leather and plaid and over-sized glasses for heroin-chic faces. And luck was on our side, we had no more than four minutes to wait for the train. Funny how a little liquid courage can make time just fly on by, like it’s late for a party. Headlights rounded the corner and the L train charged forward, the last car coming to a standstill in front of us.

Our poor spot of choice ended damn smack in the middle of two sets of doors. Commuters will recognize our subsequent position in front of the doors as the “Oh, sorry, let me – are you getting off? I’ll move – oh goodness, the door is – let me just -” and awkwardness aside, it is prime for accidental elbow jutting and toe treading.

We jawed and guffawed through a few stops, letting the train clear around us, eyeballing the other occupants, maybe eavesdropping on a topic or two – then clear across the other side of the car, who should I spot?

“Hey, turn around slowly, Willem Dafoe is on our train.” She craned in response,
“He looks just like him.” A little taller maybe, younger certainly, with a red bandana that spoke of Platoon. But that hair, those cheek bones.
“That could be his son!” My eyes continued to flick to him for the rest of the ride. The doors chimed open to our area of East-east-east-eastest-east-Williamsburg. I side eyed Willem to see his plan.

He stepped off the train and turned left.

We went right.

“He got off at our stop. HE-GOT-OFF-AT-OUR-STOP.”

I stumbled home and exchanged my layers for the comfort of pajamas. As I am a 21st century girl, I lay back on my pillows, laptop in hand and it came to me.

WWW(dot)craigslist(dot)org

I dragged the cursor to that anonymous hot spot of internet hot spots.

Willem Dafoe on the L Train – w4m 26

I think I saw you on the L train tonight, Willem Dafoe.

You might’ve just been a kid in a red bandanna.

But I’m pretty sure it was you, Willem Dafoe. Then you got off at my stop. Damn, Willem Dafoe, whatchu doin’ in Bushwick?!

Laptop safely tucked away, I fell into the heavy sleep of a Saturday night well spent.

As this was my first Missed Connection posting, I naively assumed that that was that.

The responses began to trickle in a day or two later. April wanted me to clarify if I truly was a woman seeking a man (she couldn’t know that it was so much more than that, could she?), and Dante needed to know the exact location of this supposed Willem Dafoe doppelganger – or maybe just where I lived. His message was brief, and so his motives suspect.

Then there was Kings, who just wanted my body to sing for him. Because, you see, he wanted to play me like an instrument. But I was not to be played.

Lastly, the elusive Patrick, who only emailed me to say: “I know who you are looking for.” But if he did know, he wasn’t talking.

Then, nothing. I joked about the experience at after work happy hours and cafeteria lunches, but as with most memories in the making, the immediacy of it all fell away. I forgot to even think of it.

Fast forward a year in the wild wild west of the internet. Or, in the real world, ten days later.

Sitting at a friend’s, waiting to start my french toast project, I idly hit the mail button on my phone as I am wont to do.

Connecting…

Connecting…

Checking mail…

Downloading 1 of 2…

Downloading 2 of 2…

At the top:

oedwotd subject “muggy, adj./2” – Word of the Day from the OED

But below that! Fate had intervened!

Jesse ****             subject hey it’s willem dafoe jr.

my friend in chicago came across your craigslist post — ha i get that all the time.  that’s so funny.  only time i’ve ever worn a red bandanna.  wasn’t i awesome in Platoon?

Could it really be him? I was raised during the height of web-paranoia. I knew better than to trust a stranger ON THE INTERNET.

So, I found him on Facebook.

Friends, readers, it was him. It was my L-Train Willem Dafoe. How did he find me? Why was his friend in Chicago searching through Brooklyn Missed Connections? Was Peter his friend?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions. I replied, exclamation points abound,

“Willem Dafoe, you just made my day!”

And that’s where I’ll leave it.

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Promise of a Better Day

I’ve regressed to listening to awesome old Taking Back Sunday demos. Shut up, it’s awesome. Although, I don’t really have anything to say about beautiful girls. Except, you know.

Obviously, you understand that I’ve been on vacation in the French Alps with Louis Garrell for the last three months – by which I mean we started our blog at work and now I don’t have time to write for my own. Which may be is a good thing, yeah?

Working on the WORK BLOG has pulled me back into a sort of nostalgia for all the great, weird chapter books I loved when I was a kid – so I thought in my return to El Blogacabre, I was going to list out some of my favorites… but then I just ended up reading about them on Wikipedia and falling into a spiral of meeeeeeeemories.

Although, I think everyone could do with a reread of Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.

I’ve spent a lot of this post talking about things I can’t or won’t say. Talk about postmodern blogging.

… God, I’m an asshole.

But it’s strange, it’s not like I’ve run out of things to rant about – good ole’ T-bone and I just had a great debate (read as: ridiculous argument) over whether or not a book’s classification as Literary Fiction hinders its potential sales. Or its sales potential. Whatever.

We’re real smart over hurr.

Any way, maybe it’s because there really is only so much you can say on the internet? Or maybe I’ve just run out of steam – it was a very hectic summer. (I’m saying this both mysteriously and elusively.)

… This is mostly untrue, I blogged this summer, I just did it on my side-project. I’m like Tom Delong and whatever the name of his crappy side project is.

The side project failed kind of, because I didn’t follow through. As usual.

THIS BLOG POST IS SO DEPRESSING. REMEMBER WHEN IT STARTED AND I WAS HOPEFUL?

Boy, oh boy, … and now I’m thinking about Joe Pesci in With Honors and now I’m even sadder. Good Lord, media culture- what hath you wrought?

O, readers, all three of you, aren’t you glad for my return?

Alright, I’m going offline.

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