02
Feb
10

Nazi lunch.

On Saturday, I had lunch with a Nazi. Here’s what happened.

My best friend Brittany had been dying to take me to Mattern Deli (Orange, CA) because she knows how much I love sandwiches. Unfortunately, because Mattern is a small German market/deli, they’re not always open. On top of that, when they are open, they’re really busy. At one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, they were fuckin packed. When we couldn’t find parking, Brittany had me hop out and go inside to grab a number.

I pulled number 27.

They were serving number 6.

If you peruse thMattern Delie small market, you quickly come upon a cooler full of German (and bad domestic) beer. We realized we had a lot of time to kill, so we decided to have a beer while we waited to order. Our original plan had been to grab sandwiches and take them to another bar nearby anyway, so why not go ahead and get started? This seemed common practice, as there was a bottle opener hanging from a string tied to the number dispenser and a request to bring empties to the cash register when we were done.

Brittany and managed to score two of the only available seats in the establishment, adjacent to a group of older gentlemen. They were obviously regulars, and obviously all at least part German. Apparently they were obviously racist as well; Brittany was sending me worried glances, the kind reserved for potentially awkward situations leading to one of my “outbursts”, but I didn’t hear anything, at first. Or, I knew enough about my surroundings to just try to block it out subconsciously. I’m not in the business or pleasure of confronting old men in their 70s about their politics, or anything, really. Old people make me super nervous for reasons unknown. As we dug into the sandwiches we’d be been waiting over an hour for, they grilled us about our ages, our schooling, and told us to take a look at Miss California (who’s apparently quite the looker this year).

All was fine and dandy (more or less) until I was asked to slide over to make room for “Doc”, a latecomer and definitely the oldest of the group of friends with the thickest German accent. Doc immediately struck up conversation with me and Bri, as he was pretty much sitting at our table. Unfortunately, I only really remember the “highlights”. Imagine me, sitting next to a very old man, listening to all of the following statements, as he looks at Brittany who’s watching my face.

First, his friend said, “That guy at UCI, Chemerinksy, he’s a straight out communist!”

Then, among the chatter, these came out of Doc’s mouth:

“You know how I feel about Obama? I see him as the new Hitler. Just another pain the ass we need to get rid of.”

“I’m an ex-Nazi. I fought on the good side in WWII, the German side. I was born in Berlin.”

“I feel sorry for you kids today in school. Too many liberal teachers rotting your brains.”

Those are the only statements I absolutely remember, but certainly not all that was said. Looking back at those statements, this doesn’t seem like that jarring of an experience. But, as time went on I became more and more uncomfortable as I began to realize with every statement that while Doc supposedly shed his Nazi affiliation, he maintained their ideologies.

While Brittany looks like a WASP, I look like a big dykey feminist. This tends to insulate me from overtly conservative conversations en masse, especially homophobic ones. Occasionally, I get sucked into racist discourse, but I’m quick to inform my company that, not only do I not share their opinion, but if they continue espousing their views, I’m likely to fly off the handle (because very rarely do they care to engage in any sort of intelligent dialogue). Anyway, finding myself in such an unabashedly anti-liberal conversation over my roast beef sandwich was not ideal, to say the least. And the more I began reflecting on what was being said and contextualizing what was happening, I began to panic.

In retrospect, I probably should have engaged Doc in more intellectual way (or at all). I stood to learn a lot from someone unlike anyone I’ve ever come in contact with before, and will not likely run across again. But, I was drunk, and kind of hot, and flashing back to learning about the Holocaust in fifth grade and everything I think I know about what happened and I just shut down.

But, the sandwich was damn good, so, maybe next time.

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1 Response to “Nazi lunch.”


  1. 1 Kim
    February 2, 2010 at 2.55pm

    Why is your dear reader denied the pleasure of the climax of the story–your reaction to Doc?!


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