Of Little Germans, Lanky Hip-Hop Afficianados, and Marriage Proposals
I almost spit out my coffee as the image of a small SS officer perched on my kidneys appeared in my mind. Do you think that's a good tag line for New York City? Multi-racial, multi-cultural, very Jewish New York City? Is that line helping them sell more treats? I don't know about you, but I don't think there's a little German in me! Now I'm picturing a tiny little Nazi perched on my diaphragm and I am not amused. (Okay, maybe I'm a tiny bit amused. But I am not happy. I want that little German out of me, pronto!) Am I missing something here? Am I being unnecessarily harsh or absurdly racist? Was my surprise off-base?
Regarding hip-hop, I was sitting on the A train, probably drinking my Starbucks coffee, certainly learning Mishlei [Proverbs] for Judy Tenzer, z"l's shloshim Tanach siyum, and a handsome young man came traipsing down the aisle, hawking his hip-hop CD. He stopped in front of each straphanger and asked, "Do you listen to hip-hop?" If she said, "Yes," he launched into his very short shpiel. He stopped in front of me, eyeing mostly my book, I think, and said, "You don't listen to hip-hop, do you?" That was a leading question if I ever heard one. I confirmed his suspicions and went back to my learning.
Another story: I was walking to work, through Central Park, and I walked over one of the many picturesque bridges in the park. I saw a woman standing with her hands covering her face, saying "Ohmigod, ohmigod...." I stopped and took a closer look. I don't often intercede on behalf of strangers, but am more likely to do so for women, and if she looked like she was crying, I would have asked her if she was okay. A closer look revealed, opposite her, a young man down on one knee with a sparkly diamond ring sitting an open black velvet ring box. He was proposing! And she was surprised! I don't think I've written about my feelings about diamond engagement rings here before, and it should probably be a separate post. All I'll say here is that I didn't realize until that moment how little I want to be proposed to in this way: in public, with an already-purchased-but-never-before-seen-diamond ring. I haven't thought about it all that much, because it's never (yet) been a live question for me, but I am glad I saw a stereotypically romantic proposal unfold before my eyes and realized how little I want to be proposed to in that way.
Labels: New York
Remember, to someone selling German stuff, their audience having a little bit of German in them is a good thing...
And I hardly ever equate "German" and "Yekke," proudly being of pure Eastern European stock!
Imma and I felt the same way as you do about large diamond engagement rings, which would have been hard for me to afford then in any case, having recently invested most of my savings in two $1000 Israel bonds, which entitled us to hear a talk by Abba Eban at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco (just after the Yom Kippur War). So we shopped together for an opal, at a rock and mineral store in Berkeley, and found a jeweler who set it in a gold ring that he designed with our help. My mother had no engagement ring at all, what with it being the middle of World War II, and deciding to get married on rather short notice, and no one having any money. But your maternal grandmother, as you know, did have a nice sized diamond engagement ring. I guess that was expected in Omaha at that time.
Maybe he didn't even thought that people could relate it to the Nazis... cause maybe he didn't even remember or care about it... he's living in New York, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic city.
PS: I'm Brazilian (possibly with lot of littles whoever in me)
I understand, though. I would have had a similar reaction.
Which is funny, since I actually do have a bit of ethnic German in the mix. (I hope MY little German is not too freaked out by my Litvak housekeeping.)