Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What To Say

I heard myself saying something and had a moment of realization, a realization that I, myself, should never never never never use certain phrases. A friend of mine made some innocuous comment and I replied, "That's who I am. It is, in fact, how I roll."

I know. I know.

This is why my spicy Cuban friend refers to me as "past white."

It's true. Although I prefer the terms Pasty American and pigmentally challenged, I recognize that I am overly Caucasian. Most of the time, I accept that. Every now and again, I wish I could step beyond the boundaries that have been set for me.

Let me be clear here. I do not think my skin color determines my ability to use certain phrases or assume certain attitudes. I think that this is a bone-deep quality of me, of who I am. I will never be able to wear the clothing of the day, no matter what day it is. I will never be able to pull off the savvy phrases and slang. And no matter how many dances classes or Zumba sessions or open minded young people there are in the world, there are certain moves I should never even attempt.

For this, dear Lord, let us be truly thankful.

Maureen, my Cuban friend, once said to me, "You white people take salsa lessons. We just start moving our hips." Really, I cannot think of a better way to define it.

It reminds me of that part in the first "Airplane!" movie in which the flight attendant is attempting to converse with two black men and is having a very difficult time. Finally, a woman who looks like a Norman Rockwell version of a grandmother steps forward and say, "Excuse me, I speak jive."

I don't.


  1. I myself am fond of using phrases that don't really sound correct coming from my Irish/Scottish/( ok, basically a melange of every white ethnic blend possible) self. Friends find it amusing and quirky when I say "Yo" and "What up". So speak how you feel in the moment and channel your inner sista!

  2. I so LOVE being quoted, especially when I had forgotten all about the "we just move our hips." We Cubans place a high premium on dancing. My mom, after seeing my husband dance for the first time said, "well I thought he was having a seizure, but I I'm sure he was just having fun."

    Also, I would not have you any other way!

  3. giggle...and I'm going to steal your "I know." reply to a compliment!!!! THAT was awesome!

  4. LOL. I love that part in airplane! Now I wanna watch it. I too sometimes chanel my inner ethnicity, but usually my husband just says I sound Canadian. I guess that's somewhat ethnic...lol, ok, maybe not.

  5. I am what I am....two left feet, slang challenged, and definitely a casual tosser of that's how I roll.

    Pasty white..I like that...... what that's what I am. ;)

    Got me thinking of what I use and say...brain hurting, must have coffee.....

  6. 'Twas Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver on "Leave it to Beaver." FYI.

  7. Funny thing is, I can understand Jive, Spanish and speak Canadian fluently, eh?! Learned how to move my hips to the Salsa beat in Cista Rica yet, love the creative works of Bill Shakespeare! And am becoming pastier by the year! What a confused "coconut"/melting pot I am. I guess you just have to be you no matter what phrases you use to describe yourself.