An old lady screamed it as Emily and I sat down. She and two men were in the next booth over at La Sierra, a wonderful restaurant with furniture painted with day-glo folkloric scenes and psychedelic sombreros hanging on the walls, in Payson, Arizona. They were white, pale, the kind that makes you think, “Oh, so that's why they're called white people.” I didn't think anything of it at first, figured that she and the guys were having a lively discussion.
I looked over the menu. La Sierra has excellent tacos and carnitas.
And a tasty salsa, that they bring out with chips before you order. It doesn't make the inner ears tingle and tickle the brain the way I prefer, but a lot of gringos retire in places like Payson, like the folks in the next booth.
“BARACK OBAMA HAS DESTROYED THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!”
That was one of the guys. There's a lot old guys like him in Arizona. Emily and I were in Payson getting away from the killer summer heat that had just hit Phoenix, and checking out antique stores in search of eccentric yard furniture and Aztláni western research material. We ordered and settled down, figuring that we were in for a chance to check out some Wild West political views.
They kept on blurting, throwing out their opinions as loud as they could – I think they may have all been mostly deaf. They didn't really engage in conversation as much as erupt with one-liners. It was like a no-tech version of Twitter.
I guess they could have just stood home and done this, but expressing these kinds of things is more fun with an audience, especially an unwilling one, that will probably be offended. They probably spend most of their time at home, listening to talk radio or watching news, getting offended themselves, until they can't help but scream:
“THE AMERICAN VOTERS HAVE ELECTED OBAMA TWICE – SO TO HELL WITH THEM!”
Yeah, the election had steam coming out of their ears.
They weren't crazy about Trump, but were willing to vote for him, because he was the Republican candidate. They were also delighted at the liberal outrage his statements caused.
They hated Hillary's guts and thought Bernie was a moron. Socialism was for lazy have-nots who want someone else to pay their way. Capitalism was the only way to go, but why was everybody these days too stupid to make it work?
I actually felt sorry for them. If you listened to them, the world was coming to an end – or at least their world was coming to an end, and there was nothing they could do but yell political incorrectness and hope somebody would be offended. I don't know if they enjoyed their food, or anything else.
“WE'RE BEING INVADED! I DON'T SEE HOW HISPANICS WHO'VE BEEN HERE FOR GENERATIONS ARE PROTESTING! I JUST DON'T!”
All the while, the brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking employees provided them with excellent customer service, and joyous Mexican music played in the background.
Ernest Hogan is a Chicano science fiction writer living in Arizona, where the West gets wild, especially on an election year.