Saturday, March 4

Herding new Americans

I should have been car-pooling with Vince all along because both our application and interview process for American Citizenship fell on the same day. So when the big day came the swearing in day i called to check if he wanted to carpool... the first thing he said to me was "Hey Marc count me in for this Sunday's Poker Tournament". Uhmm okay i bewilderingly responded would you like to carpool to the ceremony today?? But he was scheduled for the morning ceremony and was headed home already while i was still in my pajamas 1 1/2 hours away from showtime.

The notice from the Emigration Department clearly stated "Must wear appropriate Court attire" which to me meant dress pants, dress shoes and at least a formal long sleeve dress shirt. So i break out my best Sunday dress complete with my new sport jacket from Banana Republic and dress shoes spit shined to a high gloss. I must say i looked quite spiffy. But when i arrived at the LA Convention Center i might as well have donned just regular jeans and a collared shirt. Apparently people even on such a momentous day do not take appropriate court attire seriously because as far as i could tell only 1 out of 30 people wore the appropriate clothing. Some were even wearing sneakers... are ya kidding me?? The day you are to to be sworn in an American Citizen you dress as if its any other day. Have they no sense of grace?

Approaching the Convention Center the influx of new citizens swarming in was alarmingly prodigious. When i finally got in line in one of the many spacious halls there was a sea of people being herded by volunteers from the Emigration Department armed with bull-horns barking orders at irritable and impatient soon-to-be citizens struggling to stay line. In fact even myself who is usually patient with these type of dull but important events was getting impatiently annoyed. But not at the new citizens but the volunteer workers who constantly & indignantly repeated the same instructions into their bullhorns "Make sure you have your appointment notice folded out & your Green Card ready in hand". Instructions that need not to be followed until you actually arrive inside the hall where an Emigration Officer examines your notice and ask you to surrender your green-card. Instructions they could have easily posted by the hall entrance saving them the grief of screaming while sparing me the vexation... These guys took their jobs of keeping people in line too damn seriously.

The ceremony itself which was presided by an actual Judge from the LA District Court who herself was befittingly an emigrant was gracious and heartwarming. They had a special ceremony for two Military personnel (A Mexican fellow who enlisted in the Navy and a Filipina in the Army) and a party who migrated to escape religious persecution and were dressed in their intricate native costumes (probably African).

But the best part of the momentous occasion was the women. I couldn't believe how many hot women were in the Convention Center... they were everywhere i looked. Women of different descents all striving to become American Citizens... thats sexy!!! When i got in line with my sister (also became a citizen of course) we heard many various tongues. LA truly is thee melting pot of the world. Most distinguishable of course is my own tongue the eloquent Filipino language tagalog. I heard two Filipinas conversing in tagalog about 15 paces behind us. I glanced back and there she was, unmistakably Filipina, her hair long and black just the way i like it, her figure scintillating and her face unforgettable & completely Ravishing... I couldn't help it i was staring at her contently and suddenly didn't mind the wait. As content as i was i didn't want to be an asshole and make her uncomfortable with my eyes riveted on her, besides it was hardly the appropriate place to pick up chicks, right? But when she caught me staring she held my eyes in hers then politely smiled... i was even almost embarrassed with her smile. I suppose because i was caught staring (which i'm sure she gets a lot with that face). Like we were in sync she also looked up the next time i turned my head to steal another glance. I was beginning to think i should approach her and say hello that perhaps holding my eyes and the smile was an endearing invitation. But unfortunately when i mustered enough guts to approach her the line was staggered into several different formations for form registrations and i lost her (we reached inside the Hall). So i conceded for the moment. I told myself if i see her again inside the hall i'll definitely go talk to her... The Ceremonies commence.

After a seemingly interminable ceremony i wondered how they actually would be able to issue more than 5000 Naturalization Certificates un-chaotically. I figured the Emigration Department of California which holds these swearing-in ceremonies numbering an astonishing 5000 entries each time have a systematic process. Well they did... the crowd was herded by the same overzealous volunteers into an organized line but then inexplicably disappeared. Maybe they felt their job was done. As soon as the anxious crowd caught wind of the missing officers situation they cut in line which pretty much sent the whole crowd into a chaotic rush to claim their precious certificates which made it an even a longer wait. Some people just don't have class even on such a day...

The good news is when i finally got my certificate and after faithfully looking around for the beautiful Filipina amidst all the chaos... i found her. I was briskly walking towards the exit when there she was walking right pass me. I wanted to reach over to stop her from walking perhaps fearing that i'd lose her again. But just as i was about to say hello her parents with digital camera in hand spotted her. So they both stop and pose for the memorable picture with me in tow a half a step behind looking like i'm about to mug or grab her ass. Suffice it to say i never got the chance to talk to her LOL.

Maybe the picture will make FHM's "who the hell is that" section...

The funniest part of the ceremony was when the speaker asked us new citizens to remove all head gear. Some Europian lady in front of me for some reason ignored the instructions. One of the Filipino lady Emigration officers approached her and bellowed "Hoy Remobe yourr HATT NOW"..... bwuhahahaha... yep she was bad ass.


At 11:48 AM, Blogger zenmasta said...

You missed another 'moment'. You gotta start living 'in the moment'. Don't live on a prayer. Take my hand. I'll take you there, I swear.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Marc Gabay said...

what the hell... thanks for the Jerry Maguire-like wisdom but i'm all about living-in-the-moment muther fucker....


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