On the Road: A Miamian in Arkansas
That was the first thing that went through my mind.
I'd been in the 3-0-5 for the last nine months. After taking a trip to Arkansas, I remembered that most of America is filled with white people -- beautiful, passionate, cordial, yet sometimes ignorant, white people. America is weird. And this is definitely a weird time to be in America. We're crumbling. We're not the most educated or driven. Although blessed, we're also a mess, especially culturally.
For example, the most popular restaurant in Arkansas is McDonald's. I waited 30 minutes to get served. I stood behind a Latina woman and her child. Listening to the Latina try and order food was sad. It went like this:
McDonald's Employee: Welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order?
What do you want to eat? the worker asked.
(The Latina pointed to a Happy Meal.)
Hamburger or chicken?
I intervened. Quieres hamburghesa or pollo?
She wants chicken.
Hablas espanol? the Latina asked me.
No, vivo en Miami. Todos hablan español tan sé un poco.
You don't look Spanish, the employee said.
I'm not. I have Rosetta Stone.
I live in Miami.
(first ever dueling banjos onomatopoeia,
reverse-racism, yes. but a cool transitional narrative device)
All I wanted from McDonald's was a caramel latte. They were out. After waiting 30 minutes, and practicing Spanish, I left unsatisfied and headed across the way to Waffle House.
Let me save you from this crazy waffle world?
Run away with me!
Come with me to Miami!
Are you sure?
The beautiful waitress strips off the Flo from Mel's Diner uniform and she's wearing a bikini. We run out the door and jump into my convertible, peeling out.
Can I take your order??
It snaps me out of my weird Zach Braff J.D. from Scrubs voice-over dream.
Um, how much for hash browns smothered all the way??
In Arkansas, Walmart is like Mecca. People in Arkansas might not invite the comparison, anything Muslim might anger the God of the Dueling Banjos, possibly resulting in the sacrifice of 68 American sluts and a Chevy Pick-up truck. Nonetheless, it sure seemed like there was no better place to be than Wal-Mart. Two things stood out at this Mecca. A majority of the people appeared overweight and there was a whole aisle dedicated to "Hispanic Foods."
One didn't have to be Scooby Doo, drive a Mystery Machine or appear on Jeopardy to figure out the obesity issue.
What is "a direct correlation between all the McDonald's and Waffle Houses?"
But the Hispanic Food aisle seemed rude. Especially since it was like mainly taco shells, an assortment of beans and a motley of spices. What were they trying to say there, huh?
After spending most of my time in Walmart, Waffle House, and McDonald's, I decided to get some serious culture. My options were limited. There was the Baldknobbers Jamboree Show or the Bill Clinton presidential library and National Archives. What to do? What to do?
In all seriousness, Arkansas is awesome.
And the people are great.