when i went to toronto. ...
i still haven't gotten used to spilling everything on a web blog, and i don't think anyone should, anyways. what if your regular stalker decided to go after you? they'd recognize you before you even could sniff a whiff of their scary beeehind. besides, i, for one, would like to keep people interested and coming back for more of my blog! :-D

anyways, my recent trip to toronto ended on a rather strange note.

a caucasian man married the oldest of my girl cousins. she never mentioned a word about how i could have helped them financially, which i totally forgot about when i signed up to tag along my mother, who wanted to see them by bus in the first place. he never mentioned it either. he just seemed intent on their kids - all five altogether, two each from their previous marriages, and a new one bouncing up and down the stairs when no one's looking.

which was great! that he was intent on his kids, i mean. the baby cries for five seconds after hitting his head and then tries the stairs all over again.

the trip was hella crazy fun until i sat in the front seat of my cousin's van on the way back to the main house in scarborough and started asking questions. people in back kept on rehashing the same stories - and if you know me, i can switch stories on and off in my head - and for once, i'd like to get at least one story straight.

it turned out one of our cousins had fallen ill to a mental disease, and i asked who she was. my cousin's husband then explained. i mused out loud, "you know, that's a common problem among filipino-americans - the mental illness thing." he said something like, "really?" and i offered maybe coz the girl was just hurt beyond her capacity, going into the possibility of race issues and what it means to be of filipino background living in canada.

i guess coz this husband of hers hasn't yet encountered someone haunted by "what ifs" all her life that he immediately jumped the gun, "ah, but by your saying that, you admit that is true!"

i was doumbfounded. where in the world did that idea come from? racism, in our family? of course my mind considered, "maybe." he was immediately defensive, turning the tables around to something that reeks of "reverse discrimination."

i realized i was dealing with yet another person unconscious of "the other." and i don't blame him - you don't consciously think of these things when you first meet someone. any normal person will first automatically assume that they are capable of the same exact things as you, only when mistakes happen do these ideas actually surface.

i should have paid more attention because even last night when it was fresher, i couldn't totally pin down just exactly what he said that led to that pseudoargument. in the end there was no winner or looser because i again was reminded of how ignorant i could also be when dealing with a race not my own. in north america where race is such a sensitive issue, and in asia were race is almost nonexistent, on-the-job-training can be pretty messy.

my cousin's husband helped me with my bulging messenger bag filled with clothes and scrapbook supplies, and my mother stayed behind because she knew exactly what was going on. from the very beginning my cousin's husband seemed too chivalrous for my cousin, who can silence errant little boys with a pointed look. he never seemed to believe that my family and i lived - and thrived - in chicago. yet again, i thought that with the things that i knew to be true, i felt totally isolated in that house, mainly because i didn't want to hurt my divorced cousin, mother of two teenagers, who'd become very happy when she married this caucasian divorcée with two children of his own.

later in the midnight when my mother and her generation of cousins talked about all things republican and war on terror, my mother turned to me and went, "so what did you and your cousin argue about in the car just now?"

whew. not too democrat or libertarian or green or socialist or independent myself, i just kept silent while people around me chatted away on how bush compares to world war 2, martial law, and gloria macapagal-arroyo. with careful precision i tried to recall exact words and timing and phrases, but i blocked most of it because of the absurdity of it all.

it turned out that my cousins' parents totally agreed on me with most of the points i raised with the caucasian husband.

well... whaddya know. who knew! ahahahaha!

they agreed mainly on how that husband's rarely been challenged even in his own house. they even compared him with the other caucasian husband, who they actually like more because he seems more down to earth than the other one.

"well... because the other one's never been divorced before, and the first one's got his own history - he's divorced and still shuttling his first two children to and from their mother," i reminded them, because everyone needs to be reminded of flip sides once in a while.

everyone needs to stand their ground regarding issues seemingly far removed from their reality, because you never know how close they could affect you. i wonder how dick cheney, rod blagojevich and alan keyes are handling their families now - vice president cheney has a gay daughter, republican candidate for u.s. senate keyes might have one, and illinois governor blagojevich has a sister-in-law who's openly gay. and that's but one firecracker crackling about the world today.
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