Posted by: gdevi | July 12, 2016

Stop, children, what’s that sound?

My daughter got her own car today; she is sixteen and has had her permit now for a while. She will be driving to the high school and soccer practice in the fall. Also, when she takes college credit classes at the university, she would need to drive from the high school to the uni.  So she has successfully persuaded us, and we bought her a car today. It is a 2007 Toyota Rav4 with 69, 000 miles. We bought it from the dealership in Lewistown, about an hour and a half away from Lock Haven–Lakeauto Dealership; a good place. We found the place through truecar.com; thank you, SueAnn, for recommending the website. K checked everything and test drove it; apparently, it is a very good car. Even though it is a 2007 car, it has all the creature comforts; my daughter and her friends can now listen to Drake and Halloween and Taliban and Robitussin or whatever in hi fi stereo. Take good care of the car, honey. Always drive carefully. A car is a privilege; not a right. Do well in your studies and soccer.

The killing of the police officers in Dallas is so shocking, isn’t it? It is particularly uncanny — the whole racial angle to the murders. It was shocking to me–I know the entire downtown Dallas–the streets where the officers were killed– from when I wrote for the Minority Business News.  It is a very racially diverse neighborhood. And Dallas PD has almost equal representation of whites, blacks and Hispanics; it is one of the most integrated police departments in the state. I could not believe it, really. Dallas is where a US president who worked for the civil rights of African Americans was assassinated by a white man. And now a black man has killed white police officers. It is so wrong. And all over the nation, black men fear getting killed  by the police. One of the saddest days for me as a teacher was when I received three essays in the spring from students — all three were expository essays on how not to get arrested and killed if pulled over by police officers, if you are living in Philly or New Jersey. They were sort of “how-to” essays on what not to do so you don’t get killed by the police. Can you imagine having such a conversation with your son, whatever race you are? What a terrible state of affairs.

A good profile of Police Chief David Brown from Guardian here. I have great respect for Brown. Brown grew up in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. When I taught at UTD, I used to teach English to hispanic and other immigrants at a little Presbyterian church near downtown Dallas. I loved that work I did there. Many of my students came from the Oak Cliff area and south Dallas, difficult neighborhoods. They were wonderful students.

July 13 update.

I was at the grocery store check-out counter this morning. There was an older man checking out his groceries in front of me. He must have been about 80 years old or so. When he turned around to pay the cashier, he saw me. He looked at me and then he looked at my groceries. Then he looked at me again. Then he turned around to face me and asked me, “are you from the south?” I didn’t know what to say. South could mean the global south — and India would be the global south — or it could mean the south of the United States — and yes, I guess, theoretically I could say I had moved to PA from Texas, the south. I didn’t know what he meant though, so I didn’t say anything. I looked at him, and smiled. Why do you want to know, I asked. He lifted the carton of the Luzianne Chicory coffee from the counter, and asked me, “Are you from the south? This is coffee from the south.” I said, “Oh, yeah, it is, it is good coffee. I like it very much.” The man continued, ” I lived in Louisiana for many years. You look like you are from the south.” I smiled again and said, “Well–I like the coffee.” So the man paid his bill and went out.

I paid for my groceries and went to my car. There was a big GMC truck parked next to my Volvo. I was putting my groceries away, when the same man walked up to me again. He asked me, “Are you from the south? Are you from New Orleans? I lived there for many years.” I smiled at him–he was evidently homesick for Louisiana. I told him “No, I am not from Louisiana.” How did you know to buy this coffee? He asked me; he was persistent. “Oh,” I said, “I like chicory in my coffee. I saw that this brand has chicory in it. I bought it once and tried it and it was very good. It reminded me of the coffee we get in India. So I have been buying this brand for years now.” The man looked at me and said, “You are from India?” I said, yes, India and many other places, I said. Now I am from Lock Haven, I smiled.  He said, “what do you do here?” I said, “I teach up at the university.” Ah, smart lady, he smiled. You looked like you were from the south, he said. Okay, I said. Thank you, he said, opening the driver’s side of the GMC truck. I will wait until you pull out, he told me. I said thanks.

It was so strange; I am sure I reminded him of someone he knew in New Orleans. He was so alive and persistent to find out if I was from Louisiana. You can tell your subculture by the coffee you drink.

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