happy cinco de mayo
image credit: tundracomics.com
after more than a decade spent in kindergarten, i now am proud to say i have developed and maintained a strong kinder-level mastery of the spanish language. thank you so much señora olga, for your infinite patience and humor as you try endlessly to teach me, along with my little friends, and as i do my dances, sing enthusiastically with phonetically sounded out words, pummel the piñata, cha-cha step on the colorful foot-shaped cut-outs, use a fly swatter to identify animals, and try out my spanglish on you. you have taught me well. i know there are times you would like nothing better than to say to me, the following phrase, (below), but you have not, as of yet. (at least as far as i know). and for this, i dedicate this cinco de mayo to you, and i look forward to the piñata frenzy later this morning.
‘Pocas mujeres admiten su camisa de once’
You’ve put on a shirt made of eleven sticks;
You’ve bitten off more than you can chew
“A different language is a different vision of life.”
“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” ‒ Dave Barry
i was in arizona, visiting my sister and her family, and we crossed the border to go bargain shopping at a market in mexico. we saw lots and lots of wonderful things for sale, but there was one item i simply could not resist. i have always been a huge fan of pinatas, and of all of the celebrations and craziness that go with them, and i saw one that topped all the others. it was a giant. life-sized, santa claus piñata. i knew right away it had to be mine. and, in the spirit of being in the open-air market, i knew i would drive a hard bargain for st. nick.
soon after, there were 5 seconds of tough negotiations that went something like this,
‘how much for that santa?’
’10 dollars and 25 cents.’
‘how about 10 dollars?
i knew i had been so clever, and had gotten the bargain of a lifetime. i was so happy, and santa and i kind of walked off with a newfound swagger, as i talked about how clever i had been, how the seller didn’t know how much this gem was worth, and how clever i really was.
we drove to the airport and i checked in, proud to be carrying my new friend santa, ready to show him how we like to celebrate the winter holidays in michigan. we got lots of odd looks, smiles and questioning faces, but no matter. it was so clever, that we had ended up together, and for such a bargain price. it was at the ticket counter, however, that my ‘so clever’ bubble was quickly popped, i was told the following: ‘he’s too big to stow above, you’ll have to buy him his own seat.’ what, my $10.00 clever bargain santa would now cost me hundreds to get home??
and soon after, yet another round of intense negotiations took place:
‘okay, what are my other options?’
‘there is only one.’
we found a compromise. santa could fly with the luggage in the cargo section of the plane, and i had to be willing to accept that he may not look the same upon arrival. we parted ways – him on a conveyer belt, and i walked down a long hallway. i imagined all sorts of terrible things happening to him without his clever mama watching over him, but he would have been an expensive companion to have on board.
when i landed i saw him coming around the luggage carousel, feet first, and with a toe tag on. i thought about how he looked like he was in a morgue, and i knew it had been a very rough flight for him. i picked him up, stood him upright, and as we walked away, he was not quite as jolly, and i, not quite as clever. it had been a good run of clever for both of us though, and how quickly it was over.
The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld