Proud To Be An American
"I just looked and it don't say nothin' about no shirt collars," he drawled in a Southern accent to the other three people in his party, while proceeding to strip off his t-shirt.
At a fine dining restaurant. In a foreign country.
It took three full days before I got the show I'd been half expecting since our arrival in the Dominican Republic, courtesy of Ruston from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was able to learn his name, because that's what his dining mates were calling him, as he continued, for at least half a hour, to attempt to disrupt our dinner.
And you wonder why people around the globe hate Americans.
At that moment, you could count me in.
Ruston was upset because he was initially denied service for wearing open-toed shoes. Apparently, he was not aware of the dress code, even though it was posted in multiple locations, including inside the room, and everyone else in the restaurant seemed to have gotten the memo.
His friend, clearly the Ruston whisperer, spoke to him quietly, requesting, in hushed tones, that he just go put some tennis shoes on because this was the only place they could eat.
"Yeah, but we're not going to give them a tip. We're not going to give them a tip if I have to walk two miles back to the room. No tip. No tip," Ruston said before storming off.
Like this was the end.
Ruston returned--even more agitated than before. His mood was no match for even his whisperer, who tried, unsuccessfully, to diffuse the situation with a hug. "I just caused $9,000 worth of damage to the landscaping between here and my room," he said, boasting to his friends about his vandalization spree.
And then, just in case, there were any doubts that he had already shown his ass, he opted to do it again.
In the form of his bare chest.
Why, Ruston? Why?
Oh, I know why. Because you're from the greatest country in the world. A member of the military. You are the shit. And who tells you what to do and how to dress for dinner? No one. Especially these brown skinned people, who don't look like you and don't speak YOUR language.
Yes, Ruston, I too, am a citizen of the good 'ole US of A. I may speak your language. I may even be dressed in the clothing from an American mall. But, trust, Ruston, we are not the same.
The flan that I was eating for dessert? Delicious. My lack of enthusiasm from your inquiry had nothing to do with the quality of the treat, but from my complete disgust with how you chose to represent my people. And, Ruston, if you're somehow thinking that we share some sort of bond because we both call the US home, I can assure you, my man, we have nothing in common.
The kind of American that I want to be? The kind like my husband Andre, who took the Dominican waiter aside while we were leaving, to shake his hand. And tell him what an outstanding job he did.
In dealing with you.