Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lawns

Another weird thing- we went to sleep to crickets and woke up to a fleet of lawnmowers. First thing this morning, a truck loaded with about five or six Mexican guys drove in and started cutting all of the lawns in the neighborhood. We don't have many spanish speaking people in the Hammer, although we have some. But here it seems like all the labor is done by crews of Mexicans. They show up and mow the lawns, their wives will be in the neighborhood soon to clean the houses, which their friends have built. It's pretty fascinating- the land of cotton with a permanent underclass? It's not a complete surprise.

On the other hand, this is how everyone else layed down their roots in America, right? From the Irish to the Polish, everyone had to start out doing the lousy jobs and work their way up. I don't know why it seems strange here. It could be how much the Mexicans fade into the background here. They show up to work after everyone else has left and leave before they get home. Their money is in an envelope in the mailbox. There's absolutely no social contact, which seems to be a necessary part of integration. It's weird.

5 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

It's no problem whatsoever interracting with Mexican immigrants, if that's what you really want, I have just one piece of advice that will make it all clear as a bell-

Learn Spanish.

Rufus said...

I do speak Spanish. It's just strange here because everywhere we go they're running around in the background working, but the public face is always these bored white teenagers. Seriously, if the immigrants were all to disappear tomorrow, this area would totally collapse.

The Pagan Temple said...

No it wouldn't. That's a myth. If they were to go, one of two things would happen. One, they would hire somebody else to do the job for more moeny, or two, they would find the time to do it themselves. Put a third option in there, they would hire people to do the stuff that are most necessary, and they would make up the difference by doing the more minor stuff themselves.

Most of these people need illegal immigrants to do their jobs for them about like you need to hire one to grade your papers for you.

Rufus said...

But illegal immigration is something else entirely. The illegals come for the home building jobs here and are very isolated. What I'm talking about is the people who immigrated 20 years ago and still work the minimum wage jobs with little to no contact with the public. I'm not kidding when I say that at least 30% of the legitimate population immigrated from south america in the last few decades. I mean, I've met some of them who have been here for 30 years or more. What's weird is how segregated they still are. I mean, it's weird that they still don't speak english very well, although some of them do. It's also really weird that there are restaurants here where the white people eat at 7 in the evening and leave at 9 and the spanish people come in at 10 after they've left for their dinners. I think there's a huge amount of denial about the legal population. I have plenty of relatives here who imagine that anyone who even has an accent is here illegally, and I've worked enough places in the area to know that's crap. But, even the legal citizens are isolated here. So, it's a bizarre situation.

The Pagan Temple said...

Okay, I just assummed you were talking about illegal immigrants, my mistake. And yeah, that is scary, to think that even the legal immigrants are that isolated from the mainstream of American society.

It might not be that unusual, however. Look at how isolated Italian immigrants were for so many years, and maybe to an extent still are.

They certainly have their own private little society here, which I have no problem with. I think it mainly started out as a defensive posture, typical of large numbers of people from a shared culture in a strange land.

After so long, of course, it became an established cultural idientity in it's own right, these "Italian Americans". In and of itself, it's nothing to worry about. The same is true to lesser extent for Poles, Russians, Irish, and now Indians, and Arabs.

Well, maybe in some cases it's something to worry about, but fo rthe most part, it's just people naturally gravitating to their familiar families cultural identities, though they eventually become a part of the overall fabric.