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.