March and Mother Nature are Playing Tricks on Me
Laguardia, Wrestlemania and Selena on my mind as winter draws to its final end
The month of March has been winding down ever the more slowly. February went by in a flash, but March has been a bit of a drag. It’s been cold, dark and grey. It’s been filled with travel and fitful sleep. Just this morning -that of March 31- snow fell, yet again, in New York. March is assuredly driving me and countless hundreds of others just insane. March has been alternating between a step towards spring and two steps back towards winter. Forget about the month of March driving me crazy, mother nature is driving me bonkers.
Yet here we are! We made it to the 90th day of the day and there are now 275 days remaining until the end of the year. Whoa! How did that happen? While the month of March seemed to crawl like a turtle in the heated hardened earth, the year is still going at warped speed. Historically, Daylight saving time went into effect in the United States for the first time on this day in 1918. I think at this point I am past the loss of the one hour a few weeks back. However, that just serves to make this month seem even longer as one struggles with the loss of sleep. Well, I for one am happy that March 31st has arrived. It’s been a long winter of discontent. Besides, psychologically signaling the end of winter, March 31st has some odd bits of significance in my life history.
First off, La Guardia Airport in New York City officially opened to the public back in 1940. According to Vice President Biden, Laguardia may still look like it is from the 1940s. In all fairness, not all parts of Laguardia airport are old and decrepit looking. There are, however, some parts of the airport that remind you that New York has a roach and rat problem. As I travel regularly for work, I have an intimate knowledge of Laguardia airport. For better or worse, today we can celebrate Laguardia’s inauguration. Happy travels and may Laguardia continue to improve so that eventually our Vice President doesn’t refer to it disparagingly as a third world country. Second, back in 1985, he World Wrestling Federation staged the first WrestleMania on March 31, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Everyone in my South Bronx neighborhood talked about this event non-stop. The Puerto Ricans in my neighborhood (which was almost everyone in the block) just loved wrestling. Kids would talk about it at school; taking on various personas such as Mr. Fugi and Roddy Piper.
In a town where there were two major baseball teams, as well as a major football, hockey and basketball team, wrestling didn’t seem logically to be such a great past time. However, it was all everyone could talk about. When Wrestlemania occurred the streets rippled with the news. The main wrestling event was a tag-team match between the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (my mom’s favorite and ostensibly the good guys), accompanied by Jimmy Snuka (very nine year old boy’s favorite) against the team of Roddy Piper (evil man extraordinaire) and Paul Orndorff, who were accompanied by Cowboy Bob Orton (I have no clue who he was). I don’t recall everything about those staged matches but I do remember the hoopla and excitement. Something about wrestling –this good versus evil- clearly resonated with those in my often-forgotten marginalized neighborhood. Wrestling, for some reason, offered hope and some good fighting moves that others could try to emulate. Ah, the joys of youthful memories.
Right when I moved to DC, my mom called me to tell me of a tragic story. Apparently, a singer by the name of Selena was killed by a deranged fan. My mom, who loved everything Texas-related, was devastated. I couldn’t relate until I thought of how we all felt at school when Kurt Cobain died. A few years later, when I was living out in California my sister came to visit me. California, weirded my sister out completely. She didn’t quite get the manner of dress, the diversity, and the freedom of expression. She sought comfort from the masses by having me buy the Selena movie which she proceeded to watch 3 times during her stay. I could not help but catch the movie at least once with my sister. It was one of the first times I had gotten to just hang with her and see her mind and values at work. I never think about Selena without thinking of my sister and mom. Both of them were so distressed by the loss of so much potential and that such a loss occurred at the hands of a trusted friend. Specifically, Selena, a Hispanic-American, was murdered by her friend and employee Yolanda Saldívar. I have read on the Internet, that Selena’s murder was referred to as “Black Friday” by Hispanics. I missed that memo but I have seen the pain firsthand experienced by her fans.
Speaking of memos to the Hispanic communities (I note facetiously), apparently, there is currently a movie out in theatres about the life of Cesar Chavez. I had no idea there was such a movie currently out there until someone from work asked if I had seen it. I didn’t really grow up with an admiration for Chavez, as I had not heard of him until I hit college. Many may think that is blasphemy considering that I am Hispanic. Just remember, though, that east coast and west coast Hispanics grow up in very different cultures. I grew up knowing Celia Cruz and La Chacon—both music icons that my grandmother tried to emulate. Nonetheless, I can now appreciate Cesar Chavez day now. Although, to be honest, I didn’t know that was today until I got a memo through my google email account. By the way, today in 2004, Google announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called Gmail.
Happy March 31. Don’t let the pranksters get you tomorrow and enjoy the psychological beginning of spring.
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