Talk of ‘illegals’ in Beverly Hills

Hollywood, Los Angeles, February 2008The bar was beautiful, and so was she. Utterly Los Angeles, she wore a knee length dress with a low-cut top, allowing her audience to enjoy her full breasts framed by a fake fur coat that hung off her shoulders.

The Beverly Hills hotel bar was comfortably full of what its image suggests is the normal fare: gorgeous women being pampered by old, wrinkled men in expensive suits; one or two famous actors; wide-eyed tourists; and young men and women sharking the crowd.

‘I prefer my boring life,’ she said after discovering I live in Mexico City. Boring is preferable to being kidnapped was what she meant, after finding out where I make my home. Mexico City gets a lot of bad press.

Single-mother to a 19-year old daughter, she looked not much older than my 31 years. A life spent doing small acting parts, bussing tables in Los Angeles and before that Las Vegas; hers was the life of many. It’s hard to remember where the conversation started, but before I knew it she was off on what was clearly one of her hobby horses: ‘illegals’.

‘If my kid wants to get a summer job in McDonalds she can forget it because there is a Mexican working there for less,’ she said.

‘I’m sorry, but this is my country and they’re not legal. Why don’t they get papers like everybody else?’

‘Well, many of them do…’ I began.

‘And that old argument about California formally being Mexico? Well, TOUGH. I’m sorry, but deal with it.’

‘I am so sick of Mexicans here complaining about America and how we treat them. If they hate it so much here, then why don’t they just go back home?’ she asked, incredulous.

‘Well, I think….’

‘Mexican’s have really got to start getting a better government and standing up for their rights,’ she went on.

‘That’s why they’re in such a mess, because they don’t stand up for their rights down there.’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t want to be rude, but you’re simply wrong about that,’ I managed to interject.

She viewed me through narrowed eyes.

‘Well, isn’t it good that we can have this conversation without falling out and screaming with each other?’ she said, smiling sweetly and cocking her head to the side.

‘Yeah!’ I said. ‘Isn’t it just?’

This article is based on one conversation in Los Angeles. It is not representative of anything in particular but I felt it was at least of anecdotal interest.


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