Thursday, May 03, 2012

The view on arrival


I got to Santa Fe yesterday afternoon and had one of the first less-positive experiences of my residency-hopping last six years. I think this probably means it's time to wind down these journeys and to start working on the dream of my own space, my own studio, someplace to hunker down and work. The cars, trains, planes, buses, coupled with shipping everything difficult, all of that has become more exhausting and less fruitful. I know also that this is yet another transition, and in a few weeks, I could be happy as a clam. But the road is close and there are the constant sounds of cars (this is a big downer). I don't yet have access to my studio so I don't know how bad the car sound will be there, but from my bedroom, it's that man-made ocean sound, only it's not the ocean at all.

I had an awful encounter in the Denver airport when I was setting my things down to eat lunch during my layover. I didn't even get to sit down before the guy in a cowboy hat and big white mustache pointed at me and said, "Philippines!" In my head, "Oh, NO." I just said, "No."

Then, "Vietnamese!"
"No. Oh my god." (internally, "omg, I can't believe this is happening. Again." Flashback to being in a cab in Chicago in 2005 and the driver spitting out names of lots of different countries in Asia, and then giving up and asking if I was Mexican. Somehow, him being a black man with an accent made it less bad since I could then ask him where he was from.)
"I used to be a pastor and I met people from all around the world and I like to know where they're from."
Silence.
White wife with white hair: "Well, where are you from?"
"I'm from New York."
"No, I mean, where are you FROM?" (husband does more exclaiming and waving his hands in the air)
SILENCE. Finish eating asap so I can leave and call fellow Asian American. She said I should have replaced the final silence with, "I'm sorry, I don't speak English."

Haha! That was something I always realized after it was too late (as in, after I had started talking) when dealing with racism, ignorance, and harassment from strangers. If I just kept my mouth shut, maybe they would assume I didn't understand English. That has never, ever worked for me.

I couldn't sleep from the dryness, altitude, and bedding that had been bombed with dryer sheets, so I was up early and stripped the bed to air out on my patio, only to hear the door slamming behind me and locking me out. I met one really nice painter last night who also arrived yesterday, but it was way too early to knock on her bedroom door to let me in. I went to campus security (we're on a college campus, also strange. This place is more of a dorm than a residency) and they said they couldn't help me but a very nice tall man seemed to notice my distress (no keys, no phone, no emergency numbers), and offered for me to use his phone. Except I had no idea who to call. But then he called someone, and they drove me over and the other guy tested ONE key on his big chain and I was in! So now I can get on with the day. More errands to run, a violin to drop off, and maybe I can get into my studio? Maybe.

1 comment:

  1. I've definitely slowed down. But I still always think each new place needs to show me why I'm there; some are simply more forthcoming than others.

    Perhaps idiots in airports should be turned into comics.
    Enjoy your time! It's yours, about the work...

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