Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Brief visit with a friend

I had a computer job to do in McAllen this afternoon, so I made a trip out to the north side today. On the way, I stopped by the bank to pick up my passport and close out my safety deposit box. With all the recent brouhaha on immigration, I figure I need as much proof of citizenship as possible. You can't get any better proof than your passport. So, I did the job and on the way back, I stopped to visit my friend Jason at China Wok.
Things were busy for a while when I got there. I helped out and took an order for a customer, answered the phone, and folded napkins. After a while things slowed down and we got a chance to talk. In case you've never been there, you need to stop by. China Wok is one of the few Chinese restaurants in the RGV that prepares Chinese food for you the way you want it. They can add garlic, make it spicy, make it not spicy, just meat, just vegetables, ... whatever. If you're a buffet eater, then CW is not for you. They don't do buffet. Each dish is individually prepared. Anyway, as I was saying, we got a chance to chat when some tables left. Joe, one of the waiters, was telling me that an older lady chewed him out for not taking May 1st off to go protest. She made a scene in front of the other customers. She accused him of all kinds of things. Joe had no need to protest, he's a citizen. And as he put it, he'd rather have the money.
I also told Jason about my coming trip up north for work. Prior to working at Confetti, I did odd jobs for him. Then, when his wife opened the store, I was hired to set up their phone lines, point of sale system, and to network the computers. It was supposed to be a temporary job; it lasted three years. I stop by and visit once in a while. Jason's always busy, so it's tough to hang out there without volunteering. He has offered me work there as a waiter; but, I've declined. There is some weirdness working there after having left the store. Maybe when I come back. I'll let you know if I'm waiting tables. His waiters make pretty good money (which should tell you something about the experience). I'm thinking that rather than working until December, I'll work until around October and fill the gap waiting tables at China Wok.
One of the benefits of having Jason as a friend is that he has helped me learn a little bit of Chinese (which will be handy in the future). I've learned how to cook my favorite, sausage fried rice. It's not on the menu, but it's delicious. You use smoked sausage, the big horseshoe, white pepper, soy sauce, and rice. Mmmmm. And the 5 spice chicken, also not on the menu, droooool. He's an awesome cook and he has shared some tips with me. He's also one of those guys who doesn't measure his words. He can be brutal sometimes. I think that's why he has so many loyal customers. He talks to his customers. Like me, he's honest, although I'm more diplomatic.
One point that came up is that there is a good possibility that I will be a scarce commodity up north. The feds are still shipping busloads of illegals south, or so they have heard. Perhaps it was a good idea to pick up my passport. While I'm up in Wild Rose, where I was born, I'll pick up a birth certificate for added security. I've got one here, somewhere. Maybe I'll find it. I'm also hearing that in the towns where migrants work, bilingual workers are a needed resource. As the time comes closer, I'm beginning to think that this is the best time to undertake this trip. With respect to the immigration debate, I may gain valuable perspective on the situation. Increasingly, I am more convinced that my decision is the right one. Not only will I rake in some cash that I would not otherwise make here in the RGV; I also stand to gain from the first-hand experience of the effects of the immigration debate. Let's not pretend that many of the workers at factories up north are illegal. I'm sure readers of RGV Life are also curious about the situation of migrants and illegal immigrants. I will find out and share with my readers. If you have any questions, email me at rgvlife@yahoo.com so that I can find out what is on the minds of my fellow co-workers and migrants. They may or may not be illegal immigrants. If they are illegal immigrants, I hope you understand if I don't reveal their working names and call them by their real names. Even better, when interviewing, I'll favor anonymous audio recordings. There are readers who think that my calling illegals "mojados" makes me a bigot. Clearly, they know little of our culture. In fact, I'll ask mojados about it for you to hear. Stay tuned.

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