The truth is, I’m a bona fide tortillera.It’s in my nature to breathe, live and eat tortillas. It is also my business. I am one of those rare Xicanas artists who ingeniously, if I may so myself, figured out a way to convert the purchase of tortillas and butter into a legitimate tax write-off (I’m still working on the beans).
Seriously, I get paid to travel the national university circuit, where I fling tortillas to the next generation of hungry and (I hope) critical minds as part of my performances. Kind of like what Mr. Al Gore did with his environmental tour, only my tour is more low-key, a lot more interactive, and well, I don’t really have a documentary crew following me around to create the "great savior" myth.
Now let me provide some context. I don’t just toss tortillas away. (Por favor, no matter what you’ve heard, I’m not that kind of mujer.) The truth of the matter is that I enlighten my audiences on matters of import, i.e. Corporate America’s ongoing cooptation of la tortilla. Oh yeah, she’s a tortilla, people–NOT a wrap!
C’mon, gente, organize! Or next, they’ll steal our refried beans and sell them back to us as brown marmalade. At Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, nonetheless–where, hello, we can’t afford it!
I mean, have you seen the price of an organic tomato these days?!
And I’m talking about one measly tomato, not a four-pack.I ask myself, am I buying food or making a mortgage payment? But, honestly, I don’t know a thing about mortgages, because I can’t afford to buy a house in California, not even in the ‘hood. But I do know plenty about exorbitant rents, ludicrous gas prices and living life without your basic H(O)MO medical insurance. Trust me, my grandma’s healing chant of "sana, sana, colita de rana" can only go so far. But I digress…
You see, every week, I sit there in my typical, run-of—the-mill, gas-guzzling car (because the fuel-efficient models are out of my financial league), and I experience an intense inner monologue that Mr. Gore never tackles. It goes something like this:
Okay, do I drive off and settle for Corporate America’s more affordable (albeit nutritionally devoid) dollar burger that pretty much guarantees me a one-way ticket to obesity and early diabetes? Y por favor, let’s not even begin to wonder how I would ever pay for those kinds of medical expenses. Ni modos. I’ll go and buy the ultra-healthy, expensive, designer food and proudly show off my organic labels to dinner guests. In the dark. We’ll have to eat by candlelight this entire month, because I can’t afford to buy healthy food AND pay the bills (namely, my student loans). Seriously, I have two degrees in drama: what am I supposed to do now… ACT like I got money?! They’re not kidding when they say "go green," because it’s still all about the dollar.
Well, that’s a snippet of my weekly turmoil. Of course, healthy food wins out more often than not because I know it’s good for my body and provides preventative measures to all of the toxicity around me.
Lately, I’ve been trying to get more bang for my buck también: could this eating green be the new way to impress the ladies? I’ve already got the candles, now I just need to say something romantic and health-conscious, like, "Ey, chula, truth be told…that mango you’re chewing on…it’s top of the line, mujer. Of course it’s orgasmic…I mean, organic!"
De veras, I’ll keep trying my best to go green in all areas of my life, but I have plenty of insider empathy. My communities just can’t afford to make those alternative, healthy, environmentally friendly choices, because, hello, we’ve been systematically hoodwinked!
And I do mean "’hood," where finding healthy food options means driving to those other neighborhoods.
For my own noble peace of mind, I need to say something to Mr. Gore and to his adulating white liberal fan base:
Ay, Mr. Gringo (pronounced green-go), why is it that your movie never makes mention of the simple truth that we would NEVER be in this global mess if your ancestors had only listened to mine over the last 500 years? All of my precious native elders who proclaimed over and over again that we must protect, respect and live in balance with nature.
Now truthfully, where’s their Nobel Peace Prize?