I am able to sublimate my annoyance (and utter disbelief) for Chadwick and his 1950s mentality by drowning out the sound of his annoying nasal voice by the loud crunching of chips and guacamole. Who ever thought to mash avocados and spices with some lime is a mo-fo genius! And the thought of fish tacos and more Diet Coke will surely make the next hour palatable.
“So tell me about your parents,” Chadwick says. “Uh, what?” I ask. He wants to engage me in conversation? I thought he wanted to sit there and act like some modern day maharaja deigning himself to lunch with me. “My father is a Taurus, my mother is a Scorpio. They have been in Minnesota over 30 years. Had a love marriage. And are pretty cool. Oh - both sides of my family hail from West Punjab, the part of India that now belongs to Pakistan,” I say. “I know that West Punjab is in Pakistan. I am surprised you do, being American and all,” Chadwick says. Really? He is THAT kind of Indian, the type that hates American desis so much, that he slogged to get of India, to come to America to make a shitload of money and become a desi supremacist? Then why, then why, then why – would he even WANT to demean himself by considering a date with an American Desi Girl?
“Well – don’t underestimate American desis. We got to grew up deep fried in curry with unibrows, stinking like gingered-onions in American public school and make straight As. And in ugly clothes. If you can survive American high school, you can handle anything,” I reply with an edge forming in my tone. “Oh high school is so hard here?” he sneers. “High school in America is NOT like India. In India the popular kids are the smart ones making good marks. In America popularity is admiration, not merit based. And yes, when you are brown, furry and stinky in places like Fargo, Memphis and Minneapolis – kids tease you,” I reply.
“You get along with your parents?” Chadwick asks. “Yes,” I reply and refrain from reminding him that it is he, not me, who has turned their parents into indentured servants. “Hhhmm,” he says. “What now?” I ask. “I really believe you like your parents. You act like someone who cares very deeply for their elders,” he says. I am stunned. He sounds like he is saying nice things, about me, and to my face. “Really? How have you come to that determination?” I ask, wondering what I said that did not offend him. “I can tell,” he says.
We part ways and I begin walking west. Something about meeting him kinda makes me feel bad about myself, not shameful, but I feel like he tried to belittle me. On a date? Who does this? Maybe he is insecure, annoyed that I like myself and decided to try and knock me down a peg or two. At Fifth Avenue I stumble into Banana Republic. Ah yes, this is what I need - a new dress to rinse away memories of this bad desi date.