Today, at the little corner store, I survey the calling cards behind the counter and ask the (Indian?) guy to hand me the “el Dominicano feliz” (The Happy Dominican) card.
He slides it over hesitantly.
“You’re Dominican?” I let him go on for another 5 minutes. He has that utter look of disbelief I know well. “No, really? Dominican? Really? You can’t be Dominican.” I have my big ugly gray winter hat on and all he can see is 1/4 of my face, my staid little brown coat from the GAP (three years ago) and my fake cashmere scarf.
“Yes, I’m really, really, really Dominican.”
“But you’re so…” I’m not sure what he says next because he has to repeat it over and over again and I can’t understand it with his accent. I swear he’s saying “WHITE!”
“What? Huh?” I just stare at him blankly. Maybe I’m not hearing him right?
“But you CAN’T be Dominican,” he starts again and then stops. “You’re so QUIET.” He enunciates the last word so I’ll understand. Man has good comic timing.
Not to be outdone, I flash him a Cheshire Cat smile. “Only when I’m buying my calling card to call home.” Cryptic?
He smiles but he’s still shaking his head in his disbelief. “Dominican? Really?”
Aliza Hausman…breaking stereotypes wherever she goes. Especially when she’s too tired to move her mouth.
Update: As I was calling my father and peering at the card, I realized the card is owned by a Jewish-American telephone company! I bought a Jewminicano calling card without knowing it!!!