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Tuesday, August 15

I Happen to Like Immigrants

This is my two cents and commentary for the day.

Living here on Long Island which is very close to NYC- well we share the island with Queens and Brooklyn- we are very accustomed to newly arrived immigrants (hence the popular tshirt, "Welcome to NY. Now Go Home"). I'm a first generation American on my mother's side and our family get togethers always reminded me of a Woody Allen movie as she was raised on the lower east side of Manhattan where no one spoke the same language as their neighbors and they grew up rather quirky. I usually prefer foreigners to home grown jaded types like myself and on my father's side of the family.

I'm used to people not understanding English and I am amused by it except when I am dealing with airport security. Isn't it funny though that the foreigners who can barely eek out a sentence in English work for the TSA when you're about to miss a flight? My opinion on foreigners is not popular around here in the once very white, Christian and some Jews neighborhood, but what the hell. It's only my opinion.

I meet people all the time who are simply petrified of all the foreign born citizens who own shops. I tell them to open a shop then. Heck no. Ick. Well someone's gotta be willing to work long hours so we can get our Chinese food and pizza 24 hours a day, pick up our laundry and get gasoline in the middle of the night and man the convenience stores 365 days a year. We're sooo spoiled by the willingness of some people to work odd hours and yet we don't appreciate why we have the luxury to shop for fresh produce when others are sleeping.

I used to tell foreigners about big sky country out west and that those states needed some more population in order to make their Senate seats less repugnant to those of us who are literally squished yet open minded. I am not averse to new people at all, but the traffic here is unquestionably a nightmare. The island wasn't originally developed to handle such a load. It was potato fields and vacation homes pre WWII. We have Parkways. They are tree lined, winding roads and rather narrow. They were intended for Sunday drives, not commuting millions of people every day. At every curve, commuters slam on their brakes. Talk about ripping your hair out while driving. There is only one expressway and it's loaded with trucks.

There is nary a square acre of land that hasn't been developed. Our electricity and water is always under a strain and no one wants a new bridge in their backyard so that we can easily head to the mainland for a little open land. If it weren't for all the coastal recreation areas not more than 10 miles away from anywhere, it would be a living hell. And of course, there's a strip mall every mile or so.

I enjoy the local "color" and all, but this is a big land we live in and I think people ought to spread out more. Including me. As many of you know, I have my sights set on Arizona because there is still lots of space, you can really see the stars, I can understand Spanish, adore Frida Kahlo and it's warm there. Unfortunately the water situation concerns me. So we'll see. I also love New Hampshire but everyone looks the same there and it's unnerving- not to mention that there are towns where everyone has the same last name and they all look like they just walked into a wall and are stunned. I can't describe it any other way. But most of southern New Hampshire is absolutely delightful, the boringly same-looking folks are friendly and the mountain areas are gorgeous. The coast of Maine is enchanting but I can no longer afford $$ to think about moving there.

Imagine my surprise to read that foreigners are now more likely to settle in other states than the ever popular, Florida, New Jersey, California, New York, etc. I never wished that foreigners would infiltrate the southeast, but hey they could use some new blood too- unfortunately most of the immigrants headed there are undocumented though. Oh well. They'll learn to deal. The documented immigrants will soon follow.

On my block alone, some of my neighbors hail from Italy, Palestine, South America, India, Spain and God only knows where else because we haven't figured out how to communicate yet except to wave. My best friend came here with no money but worked at any job he could until he could learn the language enough, save enough money to buy a house within 2 years and work in the engineering field he was trained for in the old country. Good lord, but people really do strive for the American dream. The shop owners are mostly from Korea, China, Italy, Central America, Pakistan and Turkey. Try to get your hair cut from a non-Italian. Nice folks, all of them. They work 18 hour days and make the working class, "born here" Americans look bad. I sometimes wonder if that's why the home growns resent the new comers.

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