Living away from home, I have developed a habit of heading out to a local cafe after I start my laundry at the little complex that I live in in Phoenix on sunday morning. This cafe I really enjoy -the colors working here range from very dark indio to pasty blonds with alot of tattoos, jews, mexicans or other south./central american countries, a black and in the back in the kitchen mostly dark skin and one tall young white boy. The food is good, classic american grill. No soy lattes here. They all seem to get along well and it is a good place to practice my spanish. Normally i sit outside but they were doing contruction there today so today i had to move inside, but instead of taking a whole booth as offered, I decided to sit at the counter. What a different experience! This place is packed with church goers and others and the action behind the counter was so intense that I could not, or rather chose not to, read and instead i just watched and enjoyed.
Soon a fellow I have seen almost every sunday there came up and sat down next to me. He is a striking indivual, very western looking with a fine older Harley Davidson motorcycle. i struck up a conversation, and eventually he wanted to know what I thought of his town. I told him of the many pleasant surprises: from the friendly people to the golden eagles overhead, the rare birds in the park and my surprise at its cultural diversity. I told him of an Arabic grocery store and mosque in my neighborhood and i mentioned that my first expderience at the store they were not too friendly. He told me that indeed they are not and mentioned that there were alot of Dune Coons about. Despite what many here think of Mustafa Kemal, let me assure you that Mustafa can hang with most anyone. Thats how he gets the inside scoop. Moreover, generally all seem to enjoy the experience, I know I do.
We continued chatting and eventually i told him after a few visits that they got more friendly and during one of my conversations i found out that they were Christians.
He did a little double take, somewhat taken aback.
I said, btw, what was that word you used back then to refer to them and in a lower voice came close and said “Dune Coon” I said, oh, is that like Sand Nigger? , and he nodded in the affirmative and told me that “The Dune Coons teach their children to hate white people”. I smiled and told him that there is alot of hate going around these days, but although I was thinking about the hate embedded in the use of this racist perjorative, I added that the left seems to be getting in the real spirit of things. He said “the left?” I said oh yes and he said “oh, yes, the left are the opposite of the right” We both had a good laugh. We kept up a pleasant conversation for the rest of his meal and when he departed we introduced ourselves ( Im Mustafa, Im Dave) shook hands and said nice to meet you and adios, nos vemos. until next time.
As I said, Phoenix is indeed an interesting place.