In the summer of 2008, Joe and I spent a week in Cabo San Lucas. Oh my god, I can already hear you opining, a week is way too long to spend in Cabo. What were they thinking? The answer to your inner judgement is I have no idea. It was the middle of August (read: two degrees cooler than Hell), and we stayed on the always crowded Playa Medano. But despite the heat, and the slight sunburn, we still managed to have a pretty good time. That is, when we weren’t being offered puka shell necklaces and Mexican weed — simultaneously, I might add.
In any case, on that particular trip Joe realized that when push comes to shove, I can really pull Spanish out of my ass. Even though it’s been years since I spoke it on a daily basis, if you’re in a situation that forces you to use it, it comes back real quick. Now, to be fair, most of Cabo is English-speaking, but there were a few times during the week when I was talking to some random person and the Spanish became muy importante. Like that time I was trying to pull two bottles of water out of a convenience store refrigerator’s bottom shelf, and inadvertently knocked over the shelf holding a bunch of glass Coke bottles, breaking at least five of them all over the floor of this woman’s tiny little shop.
Ay, mi! Lo siento, lo siento! Puedo comprarlos, si quieres!
I like to think that Joe was impressed, as he backed towards the door, laughing. His partner provides him hours of entertainment AND can order him a bucket of cervezas, todo en EspaÃ±ol. What more could he ask for in life?
He asked me how to say a few things, and on one afternoon, I taught him a series of words that all sound very similar, and require the listener and speaker to really understand the differences between Spanish vowel sounds.
The next thing I knew, mi novio was on a terror randomly sprinkling his Spanglish into our conversations at completely nonsensical times. For like a whole day, all he kept repeating over and over again was “De ajo de hoja de ojo de cabeza de los muertos mi amor!” As best I can tell, the fragment was a mix of the words I taught him, the cabeza tacos he always saw advertised at the El Tonayense taco trucks in SF, the Dia de los Muertos holiday, and an Enrique Iglesias song.
This last weekend,we spent all Saturday and Sunday afternoon watching season 4 of Dexter, which takes place in Miami. Many of the characters are bilingual, and frequently switch back and forth between English and Spanish. The show would be zipping along, and would hit a dramatic moment. Like, Dexter would be called into LaGuerta’s office for some reason. Out of nowhere, Joe would pipe up and scream “DIOS MIO!!!!!!” Except, it didn’t sound like how you just imagined it. It sounded like “DEEEEE-ohs MEEEEE-oh!!” At one point, Dexter was hot on Arthur’s trail, and an enthusiastic “MUCHO GUSTO!!!!!!!” erupted beside me on the couch. It was fantastic comic relief to an otherwise terrifying and intense season (if you don’t watch Dexter, you need to Netflix it, immediately).
The only real point to this post is that Spanish is on both of our minds, because we’re headed back to Cabo very soon for a quick getaway. I like to imagine Joe — or Gomez, as I’ve been calling him this week, what with his Mexican outbursts and amazing attempt at growing a bandit mustache for the trip — freshly arrived at our hotel, ordering a margarita, and when the server asks “Con sal, amigo?” Joe will scream at him, “MUCHO GUSTO!”
Nunca un sordo momento por aquÃ.