Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blinded By Lightness In Palm Springs

A mere hour's drive from where I live in Southern California is a city where the sun rarely sets.  Palm Springs and its adjoining cities (Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage etc.) are a figurative and literal oasis in the middle of the low desert area of San Bernardino County.  I say low desert because I live in the high desert area of Oak Hills near Hesperia.  The best way I describe where I live to LA types is that we are on the I-15 Freeway North on the way to Vegas about forty five minutes before you hit Barstow.

Palm Springs, on the other hand, is on the way to Indio.  You take the I-10 freeway east for about two hours (disclaimer: with no traffic) from LA.  While technically in the Inland Empire ("the IE"), the Palm Springs area is an anamoly in the IE.   It is a resort town filled with golfcourses and fancy hotels and its high season hosts loads of Hollywood stars (and wannabes).

I am sitting at the JW Marriott, a resort in Palm Springs, while writing this.  The JW, as the locals call it, is lovely.  They have a man made lake that you can take a gondola ride on.  The only thing is, the crowd at the JW is very white.  When I say white, I don't mean the word white as a slur.  I mean everyone at the hotel, aside from the staff of course, looks caucasian.  It is kinda freaking me out.  At the Starbucks I looked at the people in line and thought to myself, are those two women from The Real Housewives of Orange County?  Thank god I didn't say the words out loud (as my husband will attest, I am prone to speaking my thoughts aloud without thought.)

I am not a racist, I love white people.  I am staying here at the JW with my best friend who is a white girl.  That's a joke by the way if you can't tell.  Tracy is a white girl but I wouldn't say that to defend myself against a charge of racism (or maybe I just did).  And my dad was white.  I am thus a halfer.  But what people see is my brown-ness.  I look Mexican and I think that is a good thing because I can't imagine having to worry about a sunburn.  When I was little, my other best friend Melinda (who is Mexican-not that it matters but I just had to throw that in for some reason) and I used to douse ourselves with baby oil to cook ourselves in the hot Ontario sun.  We would have contests to see who could get the brownest which was judged by the swimsuit tan line.

Growing up, my mom would take me over her friend's house and I was fascinated by the woman's ginger haired sons whose bright red hair and freckles looked exotic to me.

A Latina woman just walked by and I was about to say hi when I saw she had parrots on her arms.  She is the woman who takes care of the famous JW parrots and she was too busy to stop and talk.

I am giving myself whiplash by turning my head right to left looking for some brown people.  I guess there are just none to be had here.  I am giving up and am off to the pool to tan.  Gotta get me some color somehow.

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