As I am in a backyard in Los Angeles, Korea Town to be exact, and I enjoy a meal at the table with a smart black lady. It is a nice summer evening, well spent in the garden. I glance at the party-light bulbs hanging around us, those which are so commonly seen at barbecue parties in the movies. The atmosphere does not lack anything theatrical even cinematic.
We eat Asada fries from the orange food truck down at Western Ave and Pico. This is a woman who finds meaning in everything, even the constellation of stars. When I get the chance to correct a statement of hers, she screams, “OH SMARTASS! Sure, you are such a smartass.”
To give that thought more permanence, I proceed to heighten my perceived status by a short instance of its display. She leans back, takes her glass of wine, breaks eye contact and looks down to the table, “He that exalts himself…”
Well, this is the first time I am in America and it is the first time somebody makes casually a Bible phrase part of their reply. I can connect this attitude of practicality to the Puritans, the Europeans making the first steps into Americas’ territory who were not so concerned with underlying theology but the direct application of their doctrine.
Unknowingly, this woman made a separation of myself and this country unbearable, let alone impossible.