Just last Sunday I was faced with a challenge: Should I keep my mouth shut and just understand that the argument was not worth having, or put in my two-cents and speak my mind on the unrelated topic that emerged in the middle of my Pan-Asian dinner. I decided to let out everything I had in me about the topic, minor facts, some charged comments and responses, and the look of judgement that painted over my face. I later came to the conclusion that I had another option I didn’t consider.
I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut whenever I hear something that sounds wrong to me. Although my grandma would say, “In close mouthes no coming flies”, meaning that she’d rather keep quiet than cause a problem. But I’m not like that. I’m opinionated and when a lady with a strong Spanish accent, and even stronger alcohol breath, approached our table and with the usual, and polite “buen provecho,” dropped that people from a certain region of Spain (in which my mother just happened to be born in) are trash, honey, she was about to be dragged — and you know it. As I listened with precaution and my RBF (Resting Bitch Face) came into good use, I debated on whether or not I wanted to argue with this outdated lady or if I was gonna let it pass. But hey, I thought, if I don’t stop her now, she’s gonna do this to someone else who is not capable of teaching her the way that I am. Boy, was I wrong! She was not budging!
Her snide accent crept into the lobes of my brain, and like a dog with high frequencies, your girl lost her shit. I really couldn’t take it anymore. It was like I had never practiced self-control a day in my life. She went on to praise the Real Madrid soccer team, and worse, spoke about the beauty and tradition of bullfighting, which I happen to find barbaric. Long story short, I called her a dictator, and I said that “no hay nada mas feo que una mujer indignada”– yada yada, it sounds bad… pero estuvo peor.
I remember the feeling when she left the restaurant and I screamed “Ciao!” across the floor as she walked out of the door —like an authentic Italian woman, which I’m not… or an angry 17 year old Latina with high levels of adrenaline. I was high on dopamine because I knew that I won that argument fair and square. I kept thinking of things I could have said to have been even more punishing like “A la que le gustan los toros es porque le gustan los cuernos.” I had gone to the dark side, but for what? I was overcome by this feeling of emptiness. Yeah, I felt like I won, but what was my prize? Raising my voice like a “rampletera”? I left my morals in the backseat that day and the heat of the moment really set me off. Winning comes at a price sometimes. I could have disagreed in a much more respectful manner. So why are we taught to argue and strive to win an argument instead of agreeing to disagree? Sure, we aren’t getting the pleasure of saying “Esa me la lleve yo!” but we leave with dignity, with respect. I’m not telling you to not fight for the things you are passionate for, but lets do it in a decent way. Agree?