These past two weeks, due to a glitch at the RR Donnelley payroll department, I have been doing temp work for Jaxxi Design. Don't let the name fool you, Jaxxi is a candy packaging company. They have pretty much cornered the market on adorable by taking the same blend of candy (Mr Goodbar, Krackel, Special Dark, you know the one) and putting it into an untold number of different containers. See picture at left.
Upon my arrival the first day at Jaxxi I realized that I would be working primarily with Mexicans, in number about 15. This made me somewhat apprehensive, as the Republican party has spent the greater part of the last six years telling me that I should hate Mexicans (yup, still a liberal). In the three weeks I've been there, I have remembered two things that previously were forgotten to me. First, I really like Latins generally. Second, I really hate Latin music. Really, really hate it.
First the music thing. To be clear, I am not talking about Americanized Latin music, such as Jennifer Lopez or even Shakira or Santana. I mean music recorded, produced, and listened to exclusively by latins. Somebody tell me who was the first person to take a tuba, then add an acordion, and then start howling a Spanish love song. If I could take just one trip back in time and punch just one person in the neck, I'm not sure Hitler wins out over that guy. Years ago, in Venezuela, some of the people I knew there would ask me if I liked these types of songs. I generally answered that they make my ears bleed. As the years went by, I came to feel that this was perhaps too strong a reaction, and that I may have hurt some peoples feelings by saying that. Suffice it to say, after three weeks, I am back to this response. At this point I'd be ecstatic for a mix tape composed entirely of The Cure, Oingo Boingo, and The B52's (all bands that suck by the way [if that offends you, I apologize, but it's time somebody told you]) A chorus of crying babies rubbing styrofoam together would be a welcome reprieve from this music. I'm not kidding.
Now to the Latin people generally. As I have spent the past few weeks remembering how to speak Spanish (a skill that had almost entirely fallen out, by the way) I have also remembered that I really like latin people. I remembered this the first day when they offered me some of the tortillas and goat meat they were cooking in the breakroom. Not warming in the microwave, but cooking on a griddle that lives there. In fact, almost every day I have been there they have offered me some of the their lunch.
Most of these Mexicans I have been working with are from two families, and they are hilarious. There is another white kid that is temping with me who's about 6'3" and really skinny. One day, as Richard (that's his name) was bending over to move some boxes, a portion of his skinny white buttocks were exposed for all of us to see. Christian, one of the Mexicans, was particularly close to this unfortunate scene. As he backed away with a look on his face that can only be described as abject terror, one of the nicer ladies told Christian to tell Richard to pull up his pants, but another of the Mexicans, Kique, yelled across the room, in Spanish, "No, no, put in a quarter and see what comes out". I giggled more than a little.
Anyhow, the conclusion I have come to is that I had forgotten how much fun people can be who are different than I am, Latin or whatever else.
p.s. blogging makes me feel like Doogie Howser, but straighter.