My mistake was replying to anyone in Spanish in the first place. But they speak in this rolling version of Spanish and English that is easy to follow, even for someone whose Espanol doesn’t extend much further than “Como?” when I get in a real conversation.
And they talk enough, and I laugh enough, that they don’t realize anything is amiss. It starts to feel a little deceitful when they use phrases like “Our people” and tell me how inspiring it is to see young people like me getting involved. I know when they say people like me, they actually mean inspired young Latinas. Which I’m not. Let’s just come clean world.
I’m not actually Hispanic.
But all these important people invite me to everything and seem like they love me so much I don’t want to let them down.
So I just pretend they would love me despite my race.
It’s after the Ray Suarez Latino Americans screening at the National Press Club.
Charlie takes me along to all events. I think he appreciates an escort when he’s rolling the streets of D.C. in his “carito,” and I appreciate the free food — but this time I’m actually there for a purpose. I will be writing a book review and doing a Q and A with Ray Suarez (check it! http://www.nationalhispanicnews.com/national-news-1f.html)about his book Latino Americans, which accompanies a six-hour PBS documentary and takes the reader through a 500 year story of the history of Latinos in America. Suarez is an acclaimed Puerto Rican journalist and PBS News Hour correspondent. His voice is such a TV voice, with this legit combination of a Spanish and Brooklyn accent. He’s an engaging intellect.
The event doesn’t end until 10 p.m., but then Charlie knows everyone, and everyone loves Charlie, so they invite us to come up to the lounge on the 14th floor after the screening. Charlie doesn’t turn down free food or drinks — ever — and let’s be real, I have undergone worse things in the name of free food, than hanging out at the National Press Club until late at night drinking with a group of exuberant Latinos who are all at least 30 years older than me.