Sunday, July 25, 2010

Strange Park

There's a park near my house that I drive by almost daily, but until today I have never gone to it because it is inaccessible except by car.

The park is shaped like a triangle, probably 2 acres in size. On two sides major traffic arteries run along it. On the third side is a street that connects the two other streets. There are no sidewalks along any of the streets on both sides. So it's impossible to walk to the park (except for the people who live directly across the street). There's also almost no parking -- the only place to park is along the third street. The park has benches, a fountain, lots of trees, is regularly maintained (new trees were planted in it last month), but since I've been down here only once have I seen someone in it.

I checked the garbage cans in the park and they were filled with water (from the rain) and a few soda and beer bottles. It seems pretty strange for the city to continue to spend so much money on a park that is pretty much inaccessible. And because of the whole parking issue, there's a cap on how many people can use it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Southerners Think I'm Italian

Since I've been down here a few people have asked me if I'm Italian. I'm sure anyone who knows me is scratching their head right now. While I don't have jewfro hair, I do have the nose, eyebrows, nasal voice and overbearing mother. I'm identifiable enough that up North during High Holy Days random strangers on the street will wish me a happy new year.

I cannot figure out which stereotype is causing people to think I'm Italian -- I can only think of two things: 1) I have dark hair and my skin can tan pretty dark; and 2) My last name ends in a vowel (while up North my last name is obviously Jewish, down here nobody knows that). I suppose these things could throw people off, but I have a very non-Italian first name.

Maybe Tony Soprano is really right: Italians are Jews with better food.

I bring this up because today I was getting my hair cut and the stylist was telling me that she was going to visit family in Europe next week. She then said to me, "do you get back to Italy often?" For a few seconds I couldn't figure out what she was talking about and I just said no. But then I realize that she was yet another person who thought I was Italian.

One of the benefits of people thinking I'm Italian is that the local white supremacists shouldn't come after me. In fact, people may think I'm connected and think twice about messing with me. Next time someone asks me what my father does, I'll say that he's in the olive oil business but he's thinking of buying some casinos out in Vegas. And my brother has been out there learning the ropes of the casino business.