A Disheartening Observation

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Another birthday arrives and leaves even more quickly. Such is the nature of the fast-moving life of humans. This is not the purpose of this post, however.

Last night, after a grueling five hours of delivering the world’s finest to the people who think they are the world’s finest, I went to downtown Port Jefferson to knock back a few with my gregarious Mexican friends.

One of them, Epiphanio, returns to Mexico this Tuesday, the 20th of November, 2008. He did not encounter an “American Dream”. For about six months, he worked for a Chinese employer, earning 200 dollars for around 60 hours of labor. Do the math. It is painfully inadequate. Then, you enter their home in Port Jefferson.

The apartment sits atop boutique salons and restaurants in the quaint seaside town of Port Jefferson. Down below, revelers drink the night away at the several pubs and bars. The town is a magnet for the surrounding towns, which are Stony Brook, Belle Terre, Mt. Sinai, Setauket, and Port Jefferson. Very well-off residents. i.e. billionaire Simons, from Renaissance Technologies, lives in Old Field, an rich off-shoot of setauket.

I walked into the apartment, then into the kitchen. Roaches ran everywhere. Little baby ones skittered around and full-size adults walked around without a hint of fear. They owned the place. I asked Epiphanio why he didn’t tell the Landlord to exterminate the vermin. They told the owner, only to have nothing done. And, of course, once that avenue of relief fails, it’s not likely that a group of undocumented workers–who speak little English–are going to run to Town Hall and complain.

During this conversation, Epiphanio said something that I will not forget for a long time. He pointed towards the roaches and said “This is not America”. I agreed, and told him he was lucky to be returning to Mexico, where at least a normal life awaits.

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