Several years ago when my youngest daughter was still little, she was playing one day in our kitchen. As she walked around the kitchen table, she would assign a gender to each chair. She would say, “This is a boy chair, this is a girl chair, this is a girl chair, this is a boy chair” and so on. The gender of the chairs seemed to be totally random because it didn’t alternate for every chair and there wasn’t a boy chair for every girl chair. Nor did it seem to have anything to do with the gender of the person that usually in that position around the table. I took an interest in her game and then I asked her this question: Do you know how to tell the difference between the boy chairs and the girl chairs? She didn’t have an answer for me. I had an answer for her. If you want to know the answer that I gave her, send me an email at email@example.com.
In October of 2003, I was traveling in Mexico on business. Any other time that I had been to Mexico on business, I had traveled to a U.S. border town and crossed over for the day. For this trip, we were supposed to travel into Mexico City. I was traveling with two other Americans. One was on the flight with me. We were supposed to me the other man at the airport in Mexico City. He worked for the company we were visiting. He was going to meet us in the airport but we were unable to locate him. The plan was for us to meet him and take a 2 hour bus ride to Santiago de Queretaro, a city that is northwest of Mexico City. We waited for a while but finally decided to go on to the bus station in the airport. But we didn’t know our way around the airport. I don’t read Spanish but the guy that I traveled with did. It didn’t matter. We couldn’t find the bus station. We were walking by a cab stand in the airport and I guess we looked a little too lost. A man asked if he could help and we asked for directions to the bus station. He asked where we wanted to go. We knew better than to go with him but was very insistent that we go with him. He promised he could take us wherever we wanted to go. We were able to get away from him and we finally found the bus station. We hadn’t found our third traveling companion but we decided to proceed on to our destination.
When I was in elementary school, my mother’s family seemed to get together almost every other weekend during the spring and summer. I have three male cousins that are really close to my age that would always be at these family reunions. It was also good that we had each other to keep entertained. Some of these reunions were held at the old school houses in the rural West Tennessee communities that were barely recognized as communities anymore. Some of these buildings had been re-purposed as community centers but some were barely safe to be in. I don’t know that any of them had air conditioning, some were without electricity and I don’t know that any of them had indoor plumbing. It was an adventure just getting into some of these buildings.
While I always had my cousins to play with, there were almost always kids there that we didn’t know. I remember most of the time we would just keep to ourselves, not playing with the kids we didn’t know. Sometimes there was an organized activity, like a baseball game, to get the kids to know each other. At one gathering there was a group of boys that we didn’t know. We also didn’t get along with them. I don’t remember what was said and I don’t remember any fighting. I do remember there was either chasing or hiding from each other. There was a point where we were hiding behind the old two-seater outhouse behind the old school and we heard the group of boys on the other side. We also heard my little sister talking to them. She told them, “You better not mess with my brother! He’s tough! He watches wrestling!”
There was probably no worse thing that she could have told these boys. It is a fact that I did watch wrestling. I was a huge wrestling fan. That didn’t give me any skills at fighting. Of the members of my group, I was probably the least aggressive and now I had a target on my head.
I don’t remember a fight that day. I don’t remember hanging out within eyesight of our parents the rest of the day. I don’t remember doing anything to my sister either. Maybe my sister scared them away.
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