Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Saturday, August 20, 2005

In The Jungle

I sat at my usual study area at the SU Law Library today to read the hundreds of pages required for my first day of class on Monday. Nearing the 7th hour my back started aching, my head started hurting, and I was getting a bit hungry even though I took a lunch break earlier in the day and also took many water and restroom breaks. Hijueso I was exhausted. Me estaba llevando a la chingada mi espalda.

Last week I was home in McAllen and every morning when I woke up my parents were both gone to work. My father now has an office job working in my older brother's office, but my mom still works in a factory. "Es una bodega," she says. You'd think with five college educated kids there'd be enough cash to go around so she wouldn't have to work, but because of my parent's pride and because even with decent jobs it's still not as easy as one would think, my mom has to work in a bodega. And for some reason I'm reminded of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. It might be a stretch, but nonetheless, it reminded me.

She comes home after 8 or 10 hours of work sweating because there is no air-conditioning in this "bodega" and the temperatures are reaching 100 degrees. I hear the car when she arrives porque anda fallando. Es que las llantas ya no sirven.
She begins to tell me about her work as if it's the first time she's told me. "Ahora me dieron 250 papelitos y se los tuve que poner a los 250 abrigos que mandaron por la linia." She was attaching labels on 250 coats that flew through the line. At 57 my mom still works harder than the other workers. I've seen her work, she doesn't stop. But not, she comes home and talks about how tired she is before she begins doing house work. Yup, she getting older.

I stretched my back and kept reading. I drank some water and kept taking notes. I studied some more, just as I did this summer, and just as I've done for the last several days since I've been back in Seattle. People ask why I'm so serious about school. Well. I'm not sure if my focus will do me any good, but I want to feel like I did my all to ensure that I didn't cheat myself or anyone else of a receiving the education I am here to get. People ask why I'm so serious about school.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Un Abrazo, Two Pats on the Back, Y Besos All Around

My first stop as I drove in to the Valley was at my friend's new apartment. He greeted me outside
of his apartment with the embrace customary for friends who have not seen each other in a while - the abrazo w/
two heart felt pats on the back. I knew I was home.

I find that there's a difference even among the Mexican abrazo used by men depending on what part of the state the
abrazo is being initiated. Two hours after flying into Austin Thursday night I went over to see
Maneja Beto in action. It was the first show in about a month and coincidentally it happened to be on
the same day I was flying into town. One of my friends already had a cold Lone Star waiting for me when I arrived at the bar.
He's one of my handshake friends (maybe because he's a gringo, but he's as good a friend as I have).
I took my beer and started making my rounds. Un abrazo aqui, un beso a las muchachas, otro abrazo aca. I noticed it
immediately. The abrazo was more of a warm, gentle, embrace. It was genuine and soft. No great ordeal. We talked,
caught up, and had a great time.

The next day I met a long time friend for lunch and I reached over and gave her a hug (no beso, she's a hug friend,
maybe because she's a gringita).

In San Antonio the next day I visited with some other friends. Bueno, una amiga, y sus amigas. Estas que si son
fresas (even though when she reads this I'm sure I'll get a nasty email from her professing not to be one). I was
with my primo and some of his friends. My friend arrived and of course I gave her a hug and a kiss. She soon
introduced me to her friends and one of the girls me dio un beso, las otras dos estaban sentadas and didn't get up
but smiled. At the end of the night, besos all around. At some point during the night my primo bought me a beer and
I turned around to thank him. He gave me the Mexican (or is it?) backward hand "you're welcome." You know what that
is, right? Instead of showing the palm, you show the top of your hand when you wave and add some emphasis (un
poquito de umphhh).

This week I've been spending time with my high school friends. There's an abrazo with two and sometimes three
(usually reserved for family) hard,firm,loud pats on the back. My friends and I were joking about this the other day
and one of them said that his tio is always the guy that over-does it and after the initial abrazo
either pushes him, slaps him on the ass, or says "ven paca cabron. Dejame darte otro abrazo."

I love being home.

Monday, August 08, 2005

In Absentia

8/02/05 - Criminal Law Final
8/04/05 - Fly to Austin, woman at SeaTac aiport says "there's no point," after I ask her if I should get my ticket the normal way. Apparently, I'm on some list and have to be checked 100 times before getting on a plane.
8/04/05 - Maneja Beto concert in Austin
8/05/05 - lunch w/ friend, then go to San Antonio for part 1 of sister's graduation
8/05/05 - drive back to Austin
8/06/05 - drive to S.A. for part 2
8/06/05 - go out and see friends
8/07/05 - drive to McAllen (meet friend for lunch)
8/08/05 - play Mr. Mom for sis' kid

I'll post soon.