On Dying… She’s Dead.

She’s dead. I am on my way back home to mourn her loss. Yesterday I got a call at work and was told “if you want to see her while she is alive, you had better come now,” so I took off. We all knew she was going to die. She stopped talking last week and this week she stopped eating and drinking. Swallowing had become too painful… we think.. as she couldn’t verbalize it. The nurse said if they were to transport her to hospice, she might die en route. So they left her home to die comfortably. With her family. With those that loved her. In her own room. On her own terms. Yesterday she opened her eyes wide, gasped for air and life exited her body with an exhale… I was told.

I find myself saying “she died” so matter-of-factly and stoically then an hour later my face tightens up like a walnut and I want to scream. Scream until all the pain leaves my body. I’m not grieving her loss but I grieve the life she could have lived if given the opportunity. I grieve for everyone who is now lost without her. I grieve for the people that did not respect her as much as they should have. I grieve because my future children, if I have any, will never meet her.

Since being in the know about her impending death, I kept thinking of legacies and cycles. Things are cyclical. She leaves not only a legacy of persevering through adversity but she also leaves a legacy of poverty, abuse, neglect, depression, suffering…. A legacy that I have seen repeated by her progeny.

A legacy I have chosen to leave alone. To live across the country and shut my eyes and block my ears to. A legacy that whispers to me in my dreams and harasses me while I am awake. I’ll continue to persevere through adversity but all of that other shit can stay in my hometown. I’m good.

Is it me or is everyone pregnant in the SGV (San Gabriel Valley)?

ImageLately I have been spending a lot of time in Rowland Heights and I noticed something: un montón de mujeres embarazadas of the Asian persuasion! Every time I went to Target or to the supermarket, I would see them walking through the stores shopping with medical masks. When driving down Colima Road, the main strip of the city, I would see them, 3 or more, walking up and down the street. Estaba confudida. Then I started seeing vans unloading pregnant women at the mall and local strip malls. I quickly had a Homer Simpson “DOH” moment and instead of talking about this phenomenon to anyone that would listen, I remembered that I had the answers to the world’s questions at my fingertips! I quickly googled “pregnant asian women rowland heights san gabriel valley” on my phone and voila! Here is what I learned:

Birth tourism is a cottage industry growing in southern California. Women, specifically Asian women, are paying tons of money to come to the United States to give birth. Còmo?So here is the thing: it is totally legal! There are no laws preventing pregnant woman to travel, so they come here through companies like Mother of American, set up shop in a “pregnancy hotel” and give birth.

Pregnancy “hotels,” I’ve learned, are usually in apartment complexes like the Pheasant Ridge in Rowland Heights or unassuming suburban homes that have been illegally converted into hotels. One such home was converted into a 17 room hotel!

Interesting!

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What about your edges though?

Last night, for the second time, I had a dream that I was calling out someone’s edges. It makes no sense to me because I don’t think have ever had conversations with anyone about their edges in my life. In the dream (again) someone is at my door and she is being rude and saying a whole bunch of crazy shit but all I kept saying was “What about your edges though?” I think I said it like 5 times in row. Like anytime she tried to get a word in, I would say “but them edges…”

I think I spend too much time on Twitter.

I stepped in it, like for real

glassI loved my turquoise sandals. I mean LOVED. I wore them all the time. Even when it was cold out. Until last week. I parked in an underground parking structure on Hollywood Boulevard while on my way to do some much needed retail therapy. I stepped out of my car and BOOM.  I stepped into a soft mound of….. FUCKING HUMAN FECES. I looked down and I saw it as well as some tissue I presume was used to clean someone’s hind-parts. My heart raced out of my chest and I wanted to scream so loud but I stood there and hyperventilated for at least one minute standing super-still hoping I had just imagined it. How the fuck could this happen? This can’t be real. Human feces? My favorite fucking sandals, RUINED. I tried to scrape it off on the concrete but they were so far gone. It then came down to decision time, what the fuck was I going to do… So…

I walked to the other side of my car, took the sandals off and got into my car barefoot. I abandoned my babies. I wanted to kill someone but I got it together. Drove to the other side of the garage. Put on shoes I had in the backseat, went shopping and kept it moving. I will tell you this though: If I EVER, EVER go to Hollywood & Western and see someone walking around in my sandals, someone is getting BOXED!

Video Store Stories: Crackheads Do Not Make Idle Threats

I worked at a video store while in undergrad. I have so many stories about it pero déjame decirte mi favorita:

It was a super-busy night at the store and people were all over the floor checking out the movies. I was behind the counter waiting for someone to check-out. I see a man with crazy in his eyes walking towards the counter with two stacks of vhs tapes, como 20 cintas! He looked like he hadn’t washed his clothes in days and was angry. As I waited for him to come to the counter I notice him veer towards the exit.

Me: Excuse me sir?!

Him: Shut the fuck up bitch!

Me: Ok. ( I said that in my head but I just turned back to the register and acted cool as a cucumber.)

My assistant manager walked up to the counter right after he left.

Me: A man just walked out with about 20 tapes. He seemed to be on drugs and out of it. 

Assistant Manager: Why  didn’t you run after him?

Me: Crackheads have superhuman strength! No and thank you. He just left and is still probably in the parking lot.

Just as quickly as she ran out to catch him, she came back in bawling her eyes out. She caught up to the dude and he bopped her on the head.

Me: I told you. (I am sure I giggled and rolled my eyes too.)

The lesson here is la gente desesperarada hace cosas desesperadas: (1) This guy was desperate enough to walk into a packed video store and walk out with 20 tapes. (2) My assistant manager was so desperate to keep her job she stepped to a crackhead… and lost. Don’t let this be you y punto.

The Altar

My property manager visited my place to do their annual smoke alarm inspection. Every time  she has entered my apartment siempre me dice how nice it is. I am starting to think that every other person’s place must look like shit because my place is super plain.

She walked into the dining area and I wanted to laugh because she looked at the rooster, candle burning and dried flowers and said, “wow this is nice.” I can tell she was a little freaked out about it and as a fellow Latina, I am sure, she thought it was an altar of some sort. The funny thing is, I always light candles and I had just dried some roses and didn’t know where to put them so I just put it with the rooster.

Dear St. Rooster,

Will you help me with my troubles?

Ashe!

The Pig’s Head

When I was a kid, my parents had a pig’s head in the freezer for a day. I am not sure the details or why it was there but it was there. What I do remember is:

We lived in a small apartment and I was running around the place with my cousin Jess. I must have been around 6 or 7. I am not even sure why I opened the freezer but there it was staring back at us. We both screamed as if we were being murdered. My mom and dad ran into the kitchen to see what the commotion was and they both started laughing hysterically…. I remember my dad shutting the freezer then opening it up again and laughing.

WHAT in the entire fuck? Being that we are Caribbean, I am sure that bad boy was sliced and diced and I ate it without knowing what it was but how in the hell do you quietly carry a big ass pig’s head up a three story walk-up in Rhode Island? My father was Dominican, straight off the boat and still kept many of his country’s ways while living in the states. This was evidenced by him thinking that dress shoes went with every outfit o_O. Yes he was THAT guy. I don’t think he ever wore a pair of sneakers. Okay, my dad’s fashion sense is a whole ‘notha post but yeah, what the hell were they thinking? lol