Straw Poll

It's 7:15 on a Friday evening and I've come to my computer to write this. Not because it's important but because I want to remember it.

I live in the barrio -- no really, my neighborhood association is called Barrio Unido. More specifically, I live across the street from a housing project near downtown Austin. As I like to say to guests when they ask for directions, "Slow down when you see the projects." The project is occupied largely by Hispanics (it was actually set up by LBJ during a more segregated time specifically to house low-income Hispanic families).

Anyway, I was just bringing in my trash can when a group of boys rode by on their bikes. I waved hi, as I often do, and Delfino, the thirteen year old who might have a bit of a crush on me, rode over, bringing the rest of the crew with him. "What are y'all doing?" I said.

"Playing cops and robbers." I was about to ask what the crime was when I heard one of them shout at Delfino:

"Immigration is coming! Stop!"

They all laughed.

While we were talking, one of them pointed at my Rebecca Bell-Metereau sign and said "Are you going to choose her for the...State Board of Education?" I could tell he was reading from the sign the title of the office but I liked his attitude of engaging in political discussion so I said "I sure am!" He nodded, and then Delfino pointed at my Bill White sign. "You're voting for him too?"

"Yup," I said. The boy who'd asked me about the SBOE sign, who I later learned is named Alex, said, "Good, he's better than the others...better than Rick Perry."

I tried not to look shocked as I said "How do you know--What makes you say that?"

Alex shrugged and said "I watch the news. I listen to it, too. Perry, he--he makes us pay fees, taxes and stuff, but we don't get it, it goes to his big fancy house."

Picking my jaw off the ground, I said "Yes, that's right. How old are you?"

"Eleven. And he has a six thousand dollar yard."

I don't know where that last part came from, but this is what happened next: I went into my kitchen, got a container of Milano cookies leftover from my sister's recent visit, invited the whole group up on my porch and started passing them out. And the next time Alex goes by, I can tell you this:

I'll have a whole lot more confidence in the State of Texas's future and a Bill White for Texas t-shirt for him in his size.

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