Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An Inquisitive Letter to the Riders of the Haitian "Express"

Dear Haitian immigrants,

Every morning I see you in my office building. The elevator -- which moves at the pace of a sedated octogenarian with two artificial hips and a club foot -- doesn't usually have to stop on any floors besides mine. Oh, and yours -- five, the Haitian Consulate.

Now, lest you think I am hating on Haitians when I ask you what I'm about to ask you, please know that my annoyance is equal-opportunity and crosses all racial, age, and ethnic lines. I also abhor people who shop at American Girl Doll on Fifth Avenue and carry those stupid red bags around, swinging them gleefully and banging their money-wasting purchases into my knees.

But back to the matter at hand. What I want to know, Haitian immigrants, is how you can afford to MOVE SO DAMN SLOW? 'Cause you know, time is money, and I have to get to work.

How come YOU don't have to get to work? What gives? Didn't you just move here from the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, where the average annual income is $240? Doesn't that mean you have a little catching up to do? Well, then, HOP TO IT. Chop chop, cram into the elevator already so we can get moving. Because even if you don't have anywhere to be, I have to get to work.

How can you afford not to hustle when you obviously didn't move here with the wealth of a sultan, or even a pizza-delivery boy? I come from a upper middle class family, and I think some of my father's services in his place of business probably run about $240 a MINUTE. I started out ahead.

And still, I run around like a chicken with my head cut off in this city, dashing from one job to another, rising at 5 a.m. and going to sleep at midnight, hauling around 87 pounds of gym clothes, a change of shoes and a tuna sandwich in my backpack at all times because I live in Brooklyn to save money and don't buy expensive deli items for lunch. And I STILL can hardly scrape together enough moolah to pay the rent, let alone shop somewhere other than Ann Taylor, where I purchase ill-fitting clothes that I hate, but that are necessary for holding onto the jobs I need to pay the rent. A vicious circle. How do you do it, Haitian immigrants? Why are your faces so wrinkle-free, your pace so leisurely? Where is your tuna sandwich?

Don't get me wrong. Of the Hispaniola countries, I always thought Haiti was the more intriguing. And I'm not down on you personally -- after all, we're a nation of immigrants, myself included. Years ago, my Norwegian ancestors moved their heavily larded behinds (a survival must for all cold-weather ocean fisherman, thoughtfully passed down through the generations!) onto a big boat, across a continent, and ended up in the Dakotas. But I've seen pictures of them plowing the barren fields behind a team of half-dead oxen at the first thaw of spring and let me tell you, judging by the height of their knees, they were not dallying or lollygagging the way you are when you get on or off my elevator in the morning. No, they were hustling.

Let's make a deal. Either clue me in on how to attain the stress-free existence that allows you to amble around at a snail's pace, inhibiting hard-working people from quickly entering or exiting the elevator, or HURRY THE HELL UP.

A Rider From the Eighth Floor


Blogger Mike said...

See, this post makes me think of two things:
1. You need a vacation.
2. I'll totally be saying "fuck those slow-moving assholes" in about a week, courtesy of vacation glow wearing off.

Why do we live here, again?

5:52 PM  
Blogger Guy said...

Next time just call them by their given names, Jean and Marie--because every male from Haiti is named Jean and every woman from Haiti is named Marie. And no, I'm not stereotyping.

10:37 AM  

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