Chapter 7: Speak American

“I forgawt my ūm-brella in da cawr”

“Your what?” He asked

“My umbrella” I repeated.

“Heh he heh…” He chuckled as he looked down

“What?!”  I demanded

“You say ‘um-brella’ weird…it’s like you weren’t born here sweetie!”  He crooned as he grabbed my chin as we made our way down the street into his apartment.

“Say it again…um-brella”

“That’s what I said…um-brella”

“No! Its not what you’re saying, um-brella, say it!”

“Um-brella!” I mimicked. “Are you happy, Jon?”

“That’s better” he smirked “Gotta speak American, boobigoops”

I am American, a Noo Yawker to be precise; born and raised in the Big Apple to immigrant parents, where English is the main language spoken in our home.  I attended private school until my formative years, where I then attended one of the top performing public high schools and number 1 non-specialized school in the city.

Despite the fact, that I had scored within the 98thpercentile in language arts in the numerous specialized tests that were given to me, including the only one to have a perfect score in the statewide ELA exam at my middle school and statewide Spanish language Regents exam at my high school; despite my enrollment in honor English, History, and Spanish classes (which all required essay writings and speeches) in high school. I apparently have a language problem….that wasn’t pointed out until now

Or another way to view this would be that Jon has a culture problem.  The only time I can recall he mentioned my race, was maybe a few days after we first met when we were discussing our online profiles, and he pointed out that mine was so incomplete, he didn’t even know I was Black. Not that it was a problem for him.

However, what is a problem for him is my…..exotic and acquired taste for cultural activities where as his seemed very mainstream and deep. For example – Star Wars and Star Trek – a classic and generation time honored film blah blah blah….I don’t know the different between the two, except one is a movie and the other is TV show  (I found this out recently).

After high school, I avoided television, until Superbowl XLVI, when I bought my first, 32-inch HD flatscreen as an upgrade from my 13 inch RCA bubble that was manufactured when—well…one of the last TVs manufactured in the United States.

This would be a constant nagging from Jon…“I can’t believe I’m with someone that doesn’t know what Star Wars is….”

Yet, despite my persistence, he has yet to watch it with me. But I was more than happy to share my interests with him, such as a classic K-Horror film Tale of the Two Sisters and my eclectic music collection.

He is a master of video games: the last game I played was on a Playstation 2.

He talked Sci-Fi, I read the Sci. He wasn’t like your typical man’s man. He didn’t watch any sports in fact he opted to take yoga in high school. Something told me we can forget about taking that trip to Shea stadium.

I’d sometimes fantasize about his WASPy mainstream upbringing….like the kind you watch on Full House or maybe even Leave it to Beaver. For crying out loud the guy would have hot dogs for dinner!? You only see that shit on TV where I come from….no responsible Caribbean parent would let that happen in their home.  And the luxuries like Cable/Satellite TV, espresso machine, and dishwashers; I had not been exposed to until I was barely old enough to start paying for them.  And even then I still have trouble operating these gadgets.

“Can I have a taste of your milkshake?” I asked over our hasty lunch downtown. It was an incredibly rare occurrence that we were in the same area during lunch time so we met up for quick bite.

“Sure” as he passed the cup to me.

“Ugghhh…I think they left this sitting on the oven too long! Its tastes like melted ice cream”

“What?! What are you talking about…it’s a milkshake” astonished, he looked up at me his light green eyes.

“Honey, it tastes like someone scooped up vanilla ice cream and set this in the microwave” I explained.

“Well of course there’s ice cream in it…don’t you know what’s in a milkshake?”

“No, do you?” I asked.

“Well I don’t believe this, never had a milkshake before! Never made one?!” He demanded, “Where were you born? How can you be American and not know these things”

“You still haven’t told me what’s in a milkshake…” I pointed out

“It doesn’t matter; it’s not my job to culture you! You were born in America…you should know what these things are. It’s a milkshake!” he replied, shaking his head…

“Well, we like to have lots of smoothies at home.” I mumbled between bites.

“Yeah….you make those?”

“Well of course, some milk, banana, choice of nuts, oatmeal…” I explained.

He looked at me and shook his head, not necessarily condescending but I couldn’t figure out if he was amused and trying to push my buttons again or really upset?

“Ya, honey bunny!” I exclaimed with a smile.

He looks at me….**SMOOCH*** on the cheeks

And he kisses back on my lips, I ended the kiss after a few shorts moments to return to my food.

Yep…he’s as mainstream as a milk—

“Why do you always do that?? You turn your head from me every time I go to kiss you! You don’t like kissing!”

He looked straight at me

“Uh…what?”

“You don’t like kissing me!”

Chapter 8: Mr. Sensitive

His body dominated me as the thrusting of his appendage kept the tempo. You could hear it:

Rhythm-Rhythm…

Rhythm-Rhythm…

Rhythm-Rhythm…

Slipped-out

I didn’t have enough sense not to roll my eyes downward, and keep them locked on him.

© 2012 -2013 S. C Rhyne

11 thoughts on “Chapter 7: Speak American

  1. Sorry I’m blowing up your comment section but I am catching up, lol. Anywho, I’m happy that you highlighted the fact that this was a cultural difference and not necessarily a raced-based difference, although this could be related. A and I had a couple of instances where he was shocked that I didnt know something. But I was equally shocked that he never experienced the yumminess that was griot, so Yeah, lol.

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    1. Yeh, because Jon and I had never really discussed race…because he made it damn clear that everyone in America knew what this was, and since I had grown up in some obscure corner of NYC, that I was bizarre…insecurities 🙂

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  2. Reblogged this on Six feet and not an inch and commented:
    A relationship would not be a a good one when you don’t any difference at all. Imagine a relationship where all you talk about is the commonalities you have as a couple. It’s boring. Maybe what reminds me of this are the things that me and Belle McMesa had in our enjoy-it-while-it-last relationship. She was raised in a Chinese clan where all the riches of their relatives are there and accessible. I was raised in a Filipino clan (though my great grandfather is pure Japanese) and we lived with the mice, paro-parong bukid, bull frogs, rabbits, gabi plants, mango trees, santol trees, bayabas trees, aratiles trees, and a lot more that you could only see on vacant areas in Marikina. Yes, we were squaters and we had three houses before settling in permanently after several years of rag-life. Also, I’m six feet and she’s five feet (less than.) I’m thin (sexy) and she’s kind of the opposite of being thin. I’m a catholic and she’s non-catholic. I’m independent from my parents (I still live with my family), and she cannot go out without asking permission and consent from parents (in particular – her mother.) I’m not that aggressive in a way that I don’t start a fight immediately with other people, while she can go argue with other people when something is wrong (I admired her for that. I remember she argued with a cook when we saw tin cockroaches on the plate of what I was eating. I felt contented with a wife like that.) What else? Who wouldn’t agree that life would not be complete when you are with someone (or some people like of course, barkada) whom you do not have any difference at all?

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  3. Gah my friend and I couldn’t make it through A Tale of Two Sisters. We started screaming and paused right when one of the girls was twisting and turning in her bed and sweating. … we never touched the disc after that

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