It may be cultural loyalty that keeps businesses like the quaint La Fiesta supermarket afloat on San Antonio's South Side. My 91-year-old grandmother, who still wears a gray veil on her head to church every Sunday, will buy her beans nowhere else. The younger generation shows the same kind of loyalty when they give the slain Selena Quintanilla the reverence usually reserved for the blessed Virgin Mary. This kind of stuff makes sense to the devout native South Sider.
Like a catsuit-clad Tom Cruise high up on a slippery skyscraper, I do my best to straddle my Mexican, American, and Tejano cultures. But sometimes I forget where I am demographically or who I'm talking to and the etiquette most appropriate to ensure seamless communication. For instance, if I were to greet a friend with a passing "good morning" – in Spanish – it would appear odd if the words weren't accompanied by a kiss on the cheek, a hearty hug or at the very least, a meaningful handshake. Whereas, a "good morning" in English only requires a wave from a distance and, in some cases, no eye contact.
We are forever indebted to our icy British settlers for those hygienic customs.
As I make a sharp turn on the South Side street where I grew up and currently live, my mind is racing through the events of the day when I notice a smiling man – whom I can't quite place – getting into a dusty black sports car in front of a house with a giant campaign sign for Laura Salinas, a Democratic candidate for judge, on its fence.