Saturday, October 24, 2009

On the Train Home

“Where are you headed?”

“Glenside. I’ve never been up this way, and I can’t see the station signs.”

“I know Glenside. I’ll let you know when we get there.”

“Is that where you get off?”

“No, I go to Lansdale, but I have gotten off there to meet clients.”

“What do you do?”

“I edit academic papers for international students. My first clients were Africans and Koreans at a seminary near Glenside. /// So are you from DC?”

“How did you know?”

“Your Howard University sweatshirt. What are you studying?”

“International business.”

“Whoa! So what does an international business major do after graduation?”

“I’ll probably get a job with the Department of State or Department of Commerce.”

“Sounds more like international politics than international business.”

“Yeah, and if Obama’s still in power, I may not be able to get into the system at all.”

“Why, are you a dissident?”

“What do you mean?”

“It sounds like you are not one of the ninety-something percent of blacks who voted for Obama.”

“I’m not. Actually, I’m not an American. I’m Venezuelan.”

“Really? My stepmother’s Venezuelan. I’ve spent two weeks in your beautiful country.”

“Around Caracas?”

“Mostly, though I went to Maracaibo—”

“They have great cheese in Maracaibo.”

“Hmm. When I was there, oil was the big deal. I also went to Mérida and Valencia. And Canaima.”

“I don’t know that.”

“It’s a tourist trap down by Angel Falls.”

“I’ve been to Puerto Ordáz.”

“I spent a few hours there on my way to Canaima. So you’re not a fan of Obama.”

“No, I’m not.”

“I was sitting next to a guy with an Obama hat yesterday, and it was all I could do not to ask him, ‘So what do you like best about Obama? The wars or the bailouts?’”


“I take it you’re also not a Chavista.”

“You’ll be surprised. I think Hugo Chávez is just what Venezuela needs.”

“How so?”

“When he took power, over 90% of Venezuelans lived in poverty. He has done a good job of spreading the wealth. So, I like Hugo Chávez, and I think the next president of the United States should be a Republican.”

“I’m actually less surprised than you think. In the name of helping the poor, Bush centralized power, bankrupted the economy, and enriched his friends, which I assume is what Chávez has done. So I see no contradiction there at all.”

“Um, is this Glenside?”


“Well, this has been … interesting.”

“Enjoy an arrepa for me.”

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