I Don’t Know How to Say Hi to People

Alright, so maybe this time my title is pushing it. Yes, I do know how to say “hi” to people. Growing up as a Mexican-American though, my mind was constantly like:

  • Do I have to kiss and hug EVERYONE here?? There’s too many people!
  • Can we not hug to say hello at school? I know that’s how we were raised but can we all just agree school is our haven where we can just say “hello”?
  • Everyone goes left to kiss someone’s cheek, WHY DID YOU JUST GO THE WRONG WAY AND MAKE THIS SO AWKWARD FOR US?

I love my background, and I love having such a big and crazy family. Family gatherings were never boring growing up, but I always felt like I was the only one made uncomfortable by having to go person by person, hugging everyone, to say hello.

Oh, and if mom ever saw you miss someone while you were doing the rounds: “Saludaste a todos? No, no saludaste a tu tia, ve a saludar, correle!”



Is Everyone Out to Get Me? Yes, They Are

A few weeks ago, I stood at a counter frantically preparing a cup of coffee in a small gas station. This particular gas station had recently become my haven for a few reasons. It was on the way to school, suspiciously empty on weekdays at 7 am, and best of all: the coffee there wasn’t disgusting.

I’m certainly not what one would call a “coffee snob.” I will drink whatever coffee someone places in front of me because by the time I’m finished adding seven pounds of sugar and creamer into the cup, it vaguely resembles coffee. Still, a gas station is generally not my first choice when thinking, “where can I get the right cup of coffee to start the day off?”

Despite my negativity towards gas station coffee, this place has good coffee. So every Wednesday and Thursday for a few months, I would burst into this place, and head straight for the counter with its limited coffee supplies.

I am so not a morning person; if the world could just agree to start every day around 9 or 10 am, I really believe I could be a much better person (I’ll have to figure out soon who I can speak to about this). On this particular morning, I was already on edge because I was running late. As I’m dumping whatever unhealthy chemicals come in those pink sugar packets into my coffee, I feel someone standing behind me. I quickly glance over my shoulder, and I see a fairly tall guy.

It could be the lack of sleep, the creepy smirk he gives, or maybe just the fact that I’m a bit paranoid all the time, but this man looks scary. So of course, I start pouring out those pink packets faster, but now I’m panicking and spilling things. I keep looking back, and the guy isn’t moving, he’s just standing close by, watching. I start to process my options:

  • Finish preparing the stupid coffee, go pay, and leave.
  • Leave the coffee. It’s not worth it, just go and be tired all day.
  • Say something that will make the guy feel really uncomfortable. It’s only fair, since he made me feel uncomfortable first.
  • Be loud to get the attention of the other guy at the cash register? Why make one guy uncomfortable when I could make EVERYONE uncomfortable at the same time, right?

I opt for the first thing since it seems like the most sane way to go. I dump some more creamer into my cup (honestly, I shouldn’t even be allowed to have coffee if I’m just going to turn into liquid sugar and creamer) and make my way over to pay.

The second I step away from the counter, I notice something. The guy who was standing so close to me, steps forward, to the counter. To pour himself some coffee. He was waiting because this tiny gas station has a tiny space for their tiny selection of coffee. He literally had no other choice than to casually wait while I finished making my sugary concoction because there isn’t even enough room for two people to get their coffee at the same time. I hadn’t realized this because I always seemed to be the only person getting coffee at this place. Except for that day, when this guy showed up.

So, no, the entire world is not out to get me. Just a good portion of it, probably.