My Record Cake Collection

Foreign Policy in the Workplace

on May 29, 2008

Due to the fact that I work for the state government at an undisclosed location, we have the strictest of security measures (make sure to read that with a lot of sarcasm). In moving to my new apartment, I’ve misplaced my identification badge. In all honesty, it’s probably still sitting in my ex’s apartment being held hostage by a crazy man, hoping I’ll deem it necessary to drive an hour and collect the worthless piece of plastic in person, but I digress. As the result of an error as egregious as failing to have my ID with me upon entry of the building, I have to stop at the temporary badge terminal every morning, type in some identifying information and this nifty little machine spits out a sticky badge with my grainy, unflattering picture on it.

I was running late (as usual) yesterday morning when I stopped at the terminal. There was another woman standing there finishing up the process. By finishing, I mean she was standing there applying the sticky badge to her clothes. She was hispanic and, to be honest, was dressed in such a manner that it seemed she was more likely to be a recipient of our particular governmental agency’s tax-free handout than she was to be working anywhere in the building. As she stepped away from the terminal and began to collect her belongings, I stepped up to begin my hurried, morning ritual. Apparently, I had failed to realize that she had spread every possession she had brought with her from Mexico across the counter where the terminal sat, because she turned while gathering the items to my right, nodded at all of the items to my left, looked at me and said, “Eehcksckuhse me.” Let me qualify that by saying that when she spoke, she did so with the most indignant look on her face I had seen since John Edwards was asked if there was any chance the baby was really his. It was as though she half expected me to steal the cartridge to her 10-disc changer or her sombrero (No, she didn’t really have a sombrero, but I’m painting a picture here).

I backed away from the terminal, apologized for not noticing that she had apparently brought the entire contents of her 1984 light blue Toyota Corolla and allowed her to pick up the items to my left. As she still seemed to be moving at Mexico-speed, I stepped back up to the terminal to continue with my task. After all, I have a boss upstairs who thinks I don’t do any work, regularly takes a silent roll call and I needed to get to my desk. Let me state for the record that I wasn’t blocking her from retrieving her items while standing at the terminal. All Conchita had to do was take three extra steps to step around me. Apparently all the enchiladas and nacho cheese have made her fat and extremely lazy.

As she turned to walk through me again, she looked at me like I was wearing her pantalones on my head and again said, “Eehcksckuhse me,” but this time, with a much more indignant, how-dare-you-try-to-take-away-my-healthcare-I’m-not-even-allowed-to-work-in-this-country kind of look. At that point I shot her my best, shut-up-go-make-me-a-chimichanga-and-remember-I-like-my-margaritas-strong look and took a step back from the terminal. Apparently my presence in front of that computer terminal may as well have been a border fence between her and her belongings.

As she stepped back to my right to continue packing the belongings she was able to smuggle in as she ran for the border, she mumbled something in Spanish. Since most of my Spanish comes from working in restaurants, I was able to decipher that whatever she was saying didn’t involve my boobs or how she wanted to take me home. I couldn’t understand her.

What I said in reply to her mumbled Spanish that she didn’t want me to hear, I’m sure she understood. “If you’d get your crap and get out of my way, you wouldn’t be having a problem this morning.” I smiled sweetly as I watched her walk away from me. I was tempted to yell “Andale!” across the room to her, but given the number of witnesses to what would be deemed a highly discriminatory act, I decided against it.

So remember kids, sometimes it’s better not to flaunt all the Spanish you learned from Speedy Gonzales.

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