Monday, February 21, 2011

Out Of Place

Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Sure feels good to go somewhere everybody knows your name. Go to your favorite bar, your favorite coffee shop where they already know what you'll order. Your favorite restaurant. Walk down your hometown street, smiling, greeting folks by name.

Sit with friends, chatting excitedly, focused on your immediate conversation, absorbed in the moment of interpersonal interaction, oblivious to all around you. There's great comfort in that, sitting with friends around a poker table, a barbecue pit, swimming pool, a tailgate party, tickets to the Big Game.

It seems more often than not, I'm on the outside looking in. Like over here. Wrong nationality, right off the bat. Among the partying ex-pats, I don't drink or stay out late. Don't fit it. Square peg, round hole.

At home on the rez, wrong tribe. Wrong blood quantum. Wrong blood. In my hometown, where nigga meant something, wrong race, momma said. Don't get out of place. In church, couldn't find the hymnal page. In Vietnam, wrong side. Got hit, zigged instead of zagged. Voted for McCarthy in '68. Thought 'Freedom Riders' was a band.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The word even looks funny. Looks Chinese. Sounds Chinese. In college, I was the 'non-traditional' student; wrong word choice in English class, misplaced commas, dangling modifiers. Warmed the bench on the basketball team. Couldn't make the debate team 'traveling squad'.

Later, the wrong color among an all-white faculty, and the 'Chosen One' for minority representation on their committees, always whipping that same ole dead-ass horse across disciplines, across departments, across campus. Among the intellectual elite, I was in the wrong department. Among academics, at the wrong university. In court, wrong side of the law.

Down at Damon's Biker Bar, I've got the wrong clothes, the wrong shoes and no tattoos. Same at a Nebraska farm auction. No red hankie, no skoal, no work boot, no redneck tan. Everywhere I go, people give me that, 'You're-not-from-around-here, are you?' look.

Same thing at the ISS. All those scientific types inside being all buddy-buddy across nationalities, and who's outside with a monkey wrench, doing another spacewalk, looking in through a porthole at all the fun going on, beaming live video back to earth.

Growing up, shoes were too tight, the pant legs too short, last guy chosen. Where did everybody go last Friday night? Who gave you that haircut? Where'd you get that jacket? Blank space beside me in the yearbook. Voted 'Most Likely To Not Do Squat.'

Seven Facebook Friends. Three in real life, the Real 3-D World. They seem to be having a good time over at that table. 'Why am I the only one that got a...?' 'Why am I the only one that didn't get a...?' Why did the conversation shift? What just happened? What was the joke? I don't get it.

Who? Whaa....?

Why are all these other people getting service, and I'm invisible? Last tickets just sold out. How long do I have to stand here before...? Would somebody please tell me...'That model is no longer in stock, Sir.' Why are they getting their food? I was here before those people even sat down!

The exam is TODAY?

Am I the only nigga on this beach? Jeeez, this looks like a gay bar. Lower 15 percentile. What, nobody else wants to go? No vacancy, full up. Why didn't someone tell me they changed the departure time? Sorry, all out. That waitress doesn't even see me. I didn't know it was politically incorrect. You'll have to come back. Tagged out at the plate.

Very funny, you guys. That door led out to the alleyway. Then it locked behind me.

Rock, paper, scissors. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong again. Who got the short straw? We need volunteers - You! Who? Me?

'Man, I haven't seen one of these in a longggggg time. Ha. You can't get parts for these anymore. Where'd you find this?'

Shouldn't have been there in the first place. Had no place being in the ring. Sucker punch. Wrong place, wrong time. Breech baby. Sorry about the seating, you'll have to eat Thanksgiving at the kid's table. 'Ha. You should've got off three stops ago.' Went for popcorn just when...

"You paid how much? I got mine for half that!"

You see what's happening here? You see what's going on? Been wrong so long, it's a way of life. So if that's the case, off the pace, off base, off key, out of place, out of step, why is it then that I always, always, think I'm right?

- end