Years ago, i lived in New York City. Queens to be precise. Just outside Manhattan. I lived in the “most racially diverse postcode in the USA”. Manhattanites disparagingly called our subway train “The United Nations”. We were immigrants. Real New Yorkers. Not college grads from Ohio pretending they were in the Velvet Underground and complaining about gentrification on the Lower East Side. As they gentrified the Lower East Side.
The area i lived in had been an Irish immigrant stronghold in the 50s and 60s but latterly had been invaded by Koreans, Romanians, Chinese and whoever else got off the plane in nearby JFK international airport. I was part of a new wave of young irish immigrants who flocked to NYC in the late 80s early 90s. We single-handedly rejuvenated the Irish bar scene in Queens. It was a labour of love.
Anyway, after a while I noticed that this would happen to me on a recurring basis: a Romanian immigrant would accost me on the street and start talking in Romanian to me. In a very familiar manner. Like I was their old pal. And when i spoke English to them they would recoil in horror. I wasn’t HIM!
It slowly dawned on me that I must have looked very much like a Romanian somewhere in the neighborhood. Oh well.
Then one day i was walking down the street and there HE was. And he looked just like me. it was like looking in a mirror. a Romanian mirror. And it was very unsettling. Scary. I pretty much ran away.
But I have to say, those Romanians are a handsome bunch!