It's been entirely too long since I've posted. All of my deadlines decided to be early this week, and of course this weekend was also when my jobs decided to start. So really, I had to choose between spending time at my job (which pays my rent and feeds me), on my classes (which I'm investing a lot of both time and money into), or writing my blog (which I write basically for the attention). When I couldn't think of anything good to write here, I went back to the other two. Sorry.
Well this Tuesday night, like every Tuesday night for the past month or so, I took the train home from 125th Street. For those of you who are unfamiliar with New York City, 125th is the main drag through Harlem. Its extra wide sidewalks are famous for the street vendors that crowd it selling nothing but perfume and t-shirts with Michael Jackson or President Obama on them. Also on 125th Street is the Apollo Theater. The train station I use is actually an elevated station rather than a subway, which provides an excellent view of Harlem and constantly smells of fried chicken.
Now, I consider myself an educated person. And like most educated people, I like to think that I know that while stereotypes may provide some great stand-up bits, they do not accurately reflect an entire group of people. Which is why it irritated me beyond words that I always smell fried chicken up there.
My English nerd readers (if my writing hasn't scared them all away by now) may have noticed a problem with that last sentence. I said "irritated" and "smell" rather than "irritates" and "smell" or "irritated" and "smelled." There is, however, a reason for this: I still smell the fried chicken, but it no longer irritates me.
Why? I did what an old pal of mine, Toucan Sam, said I should do. I tell you, that bird is smarter than we give him credit for. The source of the scent was, I kid you not, Lincoln Fried Chicken on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. If, as "Avenue Q" would have you believe, everyone is a little bit racist, it felt like this place was trying to make that little bit take over. I was left with two choices: pretend I didn't see it and find somewhere else to eat, or dive in head first. And since I was too hungry to keep looking, I went inside and ordered some fried chicken and some orange soda.
Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how many places sell delicious food for dirt cheap. It's hard enough to get motivated to cook (and by cook, I mean either microwaving something frozen, Mac and Cheese, or Pasta-Roni) as it is, but when food this good that I don't have to make is almost as cheap as eating in, it's darn near impossible. For just a few dollars I got some of the best fried chicken I have ever had.
As I polished off the last of it and wiped the grease off my fingers it dawned on me that I almost missed out on that place. Had I ignored it as part of an effort to convince myself that I'm too good to pay attention to stereotypes, I would have seriously missed out. My point is this: different cultures are known for different things and have different strengths. Don't judge people based on that, but don't run away from it either.
Now, if I can only find out why the engineering building smells like Chinese food so often.