Friday, August 29, 2008

Familiar Faces

Let's face it, for many of us who grew up in America, television and movies represented integral teaching devices.

My TV taught me about the simple truths in life. For example, I learned that liberal hippie parents can actually produce Republican offspring, that alien life forms actually had normal human names and that a rich white guy adopting two orphaned kids from Harlem is just really, really funny because it would probably never happen.

But, you know, while TV and movies taught me a lot about other people, they didn't always teach me about myself.

At least, not the part of myself that had parents that believed that children who didn't agree with them were inherently evil and had no respect for "their elders" because said children were too "Americanized." Or that being a doctor, lawyer or engineer was not part of a cultural identity, it was the only cultural identity you had.

What I mean to say is that Asian Americans, particularly those from the subcontinent, were few and far between in movies and TV.

So, when I did see that occasional brown face on the tube or silver screen, my immature little mind clawed at a deeper truth. Surely, these characters could teach me about myself, the way Alex P. Keaton taught me that Republicans, too, can be kind of hot in a money grubbing, if not completely self absorbed, way.

Here's some of the stuff I learned:

If you walk around India in a white sheet and get a lot accomplished, maybe you will be lucky enough to have a very talented white actor play your role in fifty years.

Religious tolerance is critically important in America. Do not offer people's gods peanuts.

If someone says you have an "exotic" look, retain your humility and think about how they mean it.

Fake Indian accents are about as funny as Steve Guttenberg. Which is to say that they are not. At all.

On a side note, all of these characters were Indian in their origin. Even on that level, I had to compromise because I'm actually Pakistani-American. I would've posted a few people hijacking airplanes, but it would have been too depressing.

Be assured, I have a very good sense of humor about these things (or is it that I have simply given up?), so this wasn't some subtle diatribe about how racist American TV was when I was growing up.

I get that I wasn't a big priority in terms of advertising revenue in the 80s. I also appreciate the evolution represented in my own daughter's favorite TV shows which are about a little Chinese-American girl and a little Hispanic boy. (Where, exactly, does Diego come from?)

I'm curious about what other people thought of these characters and others like them, and how TV and movies might have affected the general perception about other cultures.

So, tell me how did television or movies affect your perception of cultures, whether that of your own or others?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day of Humility Part I

Days of Humility are the days where people have every right to treat me like a jerk for compelling reasons, but instead they opt to show, through small and random acts of kindness, that the world is a good place with nice people in it.

The ability of a human being to return rage, ignorance and stupidity with love, understanding and patience is truly a superpower. Why don't they have an X-Man For that? They could call him MahaXma. Lame, I know

Interestingly enough, when we lapse sporadically into ignorant, stupid and rage filled behavior we can truly appreciate the superheroes in our life.

Uber Day of Deep Humility

My Carelessness rewarded with Patience and Understanding.

I got ready for my 10:30a.m. hair appointment which is on its third reschedule only to be called by the salon receptionist asking me why I missed my 9:30a.m. appointment.

She asked me to come in anyway, told me not to worry about it because they'll just call the next client and see if she can come in a little later.

When I walked in they said, very sincerely, that they were glad I could finally make it.

Impatience rewarded with Patience. Sort Of.

Had to fax papers for my husband at Kinko's.

I kept trying the stupid fax number over and over (and over) again on the Kinko's fax machine, but to no avail.

After a serious rant at my husband, I discovered that I had been dialing the main office number and not the one labeled FAX TO.

I was lucky enough to get away with a slightly disgusted eye roll.

Impatience rewarded with Love

A few minutes later, I found out my husband scheduled a massage for me for 4p.m. even though he has a terrible fever and would have to watch my three year old daughter who has also been sick.

Don't forget my scowling over the wrong fax number.

The man was a SAINT today.

Stupidity Rewarded with Kindness and Protection
Went back to Kinko's to fax the document and realized that I had left my Check Card in their machine the last time I was there.

Shuffled to the desk, tried not to act like the idiot I felt like and asked if anyone had turned it in. Someone did, in fact, turn it in.

The guy at the desk told me not to feel bad, it happens more often than I think. (This point will be disqualified if my check card turns out having charges for a Wii Fit and liposuction within the next week or so).

Carelessness Rewarded With Kindness.

Stopped to get groceries on the way home, was fumbling with my iPhone and dropped an extra large container of Yogurt that went splat all over the floor in WD, right in front of the guy who was restocking that section.

He smiled politely and very pleasantly said, "don't worry about it." And he looked like he meant it.

Cynics might suggest that the secondary characters mentioned in these humbling moments were just doing their jobs, which is true. But they didn't have to be so nice. No one was there to see if the smiles they gave were fake other than me. Given the fact that I knew I didn't deserve a smile in many of these cases, I would've picked up on the proverbial SEG.

People, when they had a choice, chose to be nice, and, in many cases, to a relative stranger.

I'm humbled by that today.

Tomorrow, I will resume being a stuck up suburbanite with a German car.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Absolute Value

I'm a little wary of people who deal in absolutes, mathematicians and theoretical physicists excluded. Whether a person is talking about the death penalty or detergent, tones of moral certainty irritate me.

It's like the wise Zen house mother at my private boarding school up North always said when I was growing up, "You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have the facts of life." (Oh, did you go there, too? Wasn't Blair fabulous?)

Say, for example, a novice blogger posts a YouTube video of a certain politician making an ass of himself for all the world to see and someone else intimates that said blogger should not have posted this particular video because it might detract from the twelve people who read this blog's liberal and Democratic party sympathies.

The question is not why did the blogger in question (oh, fine, it was me) post that, rather why would it bother someone who already supports him and continues to support him? It's not a doctored video, as far as I know, it's the truth. It's part of who he is and whether we like it or not, we're just going to have to accept it.

If you're ashamed or disturbed about the video, that's no reflection on me, it's a reflection of your unwillingness to come to terms with your own doubts about him.

The real issue has nothing to do with Joe Biden and Dunkin Donuts. The real issue is that some people just don't want to accept that everyone is a mixture of things we like and things we don't like. Sometimes, a detergent gets out the stain, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, a vice presidential candidate is smart, and, sometimes, he can be stupid.

Of course, I believe in making decisions about issues. I'm very decisive thank you very much.

I'm just suggesting that people proceed with caution and instead of saying, "this is the way it is," they might be better off saying, "this is what I believe, given the information that I have at this moment."

That way, you won't feel like a loser when you find out how wrong you were in your criticism of me.

Labels: ,

Restoring Credibility

Fine. I love Barack Obama. And Michelle Obama. I wish they were my parents.

I feel like I have to say that after I made Joe Biden look like a racist in my last post.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Can I Get You A Slurpie with This Post?

That's it, I'm going to start working on my accent, move to Delaware and get into the ultra-successful career choices offered in the wide world of mini-markets and morning donuts. This almost made me think about possibly, maybe, potentially switching my vote.

Almost. (Yess, to answer your impending question, Karmy, go to town.)

favorite part is how he thinks he just gave someone a compliment. How about you?

Thanks to for the heads up.

P.S. I've entered this post in a ProBlogger contest in a shameless bid to get more readers. Not that you aren't enough for me. You are.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Faiqa on Faye

Did you know the difference between a flood watch and a flood advisory? An advisory means that we might have floods. A watch means that we are either having floods or that they are imminent. Does anyone else wish that they would just say, "It's going to flood, go buy sandbags."

This whole Faye thing reminds me of this guy I knew in high school that told me I should change my name to Faye because it was way easier to pronounce than Faiqa. His name was Muhammad and he had started telling people to call him "Mo." I told him that he could shove it and if people thought my name was too hard to pronounce they didn't have to talk to me. True story.

Anyway, I cannot believe they've been interrupting Young and the Restless for this crap. I don't watch Y&R, per se, but if I did, I'd be damned upset. (On a different note, is it strange that the opportunity to use the phrase "per se" literally makes my day?)

Interesting to note that Florida's weather has the ability to turn the most easygoing individuals into anxiety ridden neurotics. When I met my husband ten years ago, he told me that the most significant difference between America and the other places that he had lived was that Americans worried too much, even though they had the least amount of things to worry about.

Yesterday, he went outside in the middle of a torrential downpour to drain the pool two inches because he was afraid our lanai might flood and bought 50 gallons of water for two and a half people after hearing that we might have a tropical storm warning in effect. My contribution? I pretended not to watch reruns of Oprah.

I'm just saying, whose the anxiety neurotic, now?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Glass Half Full... Of What?

Okay, okay, Okaaaaay. I'm feeling a little better today. I ate two and half cupcakes, a quarter pounder and a small order of fries and I practiced smiling in the bathroom mirror for half an hour and got over my self imposed preschool blues pity party.

I know I said when I first started this blog that I wasn't going to ramble on about my kid, but I'm going to ramble on about my kid.  If you don't like it, well, respectfully, you can leave.

In the spirit of new-agey positive crap, I am going to make a list of five reasons why I know sending N. to preschool is a good idea.  The following list is not in any particular order:

1. She needs "real" friends.  As my friend Tami has said, "Dora, Tico and Isa the Iguana are not real people."

2. Not everyone will treat you the way your mommy and daddy do.  Expecting everyone in the world to discipline, care and teach her the way her parents do will create a pathology in my daughter that will leave her eternally disappointed in others.  Putting her in preschool now will teach her not to expect other authority figures to give her a hug after they've yelled at her for being an idiot.  (But, then again, maybe she won't have to expect the hug because I will have killed them for calling my daughter an idiot.)

3. Speaking of authority figures... anybody ever notice that sometimes people who are in charge really, really suck at being in charge?  I think school, not necessarily preschool, is a great place for kids to learn that just because someone is in charge, doesn't mean that they deserve it. 

4. My daughter is a gentle and compassionate child.  Regardless of what the Dalai Lama says, these qualities have to be turned off, sometimes.  (Think about it, if the D.L. believed in kicking ass every now and then, all those hippies wouldn't be sporting the "Free Tibet" bumper stickers.)  On Monday, her first day of school, this little boy decided that he was in love with her and kept trying to kiss her.  I have now taught her that if he does it again, she is to whack him as hard as she can.  I feel completely good about giving her this advice and cannot think of any other circumstance in which I would have had this lovely opportunity to encourage her to assert herself violently.

5.  I get to eat McDonald's and cupcakes to make myself feel better. 

Alright, I have to go watch ParentWatch and then cry myself to sleep until it's time to pick her up.  


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Prepare to be Bummed

O.K., it's been sixteen days since my last post.  My daughter started preschool on Monday, and I just can't think straight.  The days leading up to it were difficult.  Now, that she's started, it's simply unbearable.  

I'm her mom, I know her better than anyone else in the world.  I knew back in April when I registered her for preschool that she was going to have a tough transition.

Still, I thought there was this tiny, little chance that she would run into her classroom screaming, "Mommy, thank you for bringing me here, this is the happiest place on earth and I never want to leave."

That obviously didn't happen.  Worse yet, since the school has a ParentWatch cam, I got to watch a live feed and experience first hand exactly how much she hated it.

I wish I could end this post on a funny note, or say something meaningful, but, guys, I'm just not in the mood.  

Right now, I hate that life has to change.  

I hate that we all have to grow up.  

I hate that a large portion of our lives are spent doing things that are scary.  

I hate that my daughter has to learn that even though you are scared and feel like crying, you have to try to be brave and get through it.  

I hate that I bear the responsibility of teaching her how to be courageous.  

I wish my daughter could stay home forever.  That we could wake up and watch Diego, eat Teddy Grahams at snack time and color in the afternoon until the end of time. 

And that she would never, ever have to do anything that she didn't want to do. 


Monday, August 4, 2008


This is a particularly embarrassing story, but I'm going to tell it in order to legitimize my claim that confronting your shortcomings is a necessary step in personal development.

I was flipping through the channels this evening and the Oxygen network (you know, "television for women") was playing "The Best Man," starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan.  In case you haven't seen it, just know that it has an all African-American cast.

Nuha is coloring a picture of Dora and looks up just as Taye Diggs is giving the toast at his best friend's wedding.  "Look, Mama," she says proudly, "it's Barack Obama."

(Long awkward silence.)

I told you it was embarassing.

Labels: , , ,