Saturday, November 10, 2001

Good morning! I suppose (given this is a journal) I should be writing something in here! Funny thing about journals . . . . I always talk about the benefits of journaling until I begin one and then always procrastinate about writing in it. I thought I would add an excerpt in here, from an e-mail that I sent to Ms. Skelchy today. Seems as though Annie is struggling with her Spanish class (which secretly makes me happy given the fact she already speaks too many languages) and just got through by the skin of her teeth on her latest exams. Naturally, she's been filling me in as she goes and it has been bringing back memories for me, of the Spanish horror of my past and present. Here is my account:

Spanish? Yuck. If you only knew the whole story Anne . . . well, perhaps you will . . . I have gone over the cliff with my caffiene intake this morning (Angie is a bad influence as she is a caffieholic), so here goes . . .

Growing up in the border city of El Paso, Texas (Tejas) you are totally absorbed in Spanish, or should I say "border" Spanish, which is a combination of a lot of Spanish slang, English slang and Chicano linguistics. In first grade (at six years old) I was introduced to Senora Spanishwomanfromhell who was a cross of a Roman Catholic nun and a Dominatrix. My spanish speaking life would never be the same. You see Anne, my real mother, Espie Torres who was our maid and my father's play toy (Jesus, no wonder I'm so screwed up!) spoke border slang to me from age 1 to age 5 and I grew up with the neighbor kids who were saying, "Por nada" instead of "De nada" and "espedate" versus "Un momento." My Spanish drove Senora spanishwomanfromhell crazy (es loco). You know kids . . . we really have no concept of what is in store for us and we often think the worst. I thought she would kill me. I would have been better off feigning total lack of the Spanish language, rather than speaking the dreaded border slang. Teachers could hit us back then and Senora Spanishwomanfromhell was no exception. Her favorite punishment was to rush at me and whack me over the head with her spanish book while shouting, "¡Usted niño estúpido!"
Spanish was a required course in grade school for us little "border kids." I had well over 6 years of it before I was allowed to "opt out" when I entered middle school and high school. By the time I was 17, I spoke a semi-fluent border slang and spent most of my weekends in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico getting drunk, eating cheap and delicious mexican food and other unmentionable things in the red-light district of lower Juarez over the Paisano bridge.
Enter college, maturity and forced sobriety . . . . Despite myself, I matured and decided to educate myself beyond belief when older. I've spend literally "years" in college and absolutely love education. Why I decided to enroll in a Spanish course two years ago still baffles me. It was a 4 hour course and taught by a very attractive, shapely woman whom I had very naughty thoughts about. She was Venezuelan and without a doubt, somehow related to Senora spanishwomanfromhell. Probably a distant relative, but pure "Carñal" no doubt. Suffice it to say, I began having flash backs of Spanish books coming crashing down on my head, but as attractive as she was, I really got into that class in a sado-masochistic kind of way.
What I don't understand is why you have to learn Spanish grammar. Nobody uses it and Spanish grammar is more confusing than English grammar (which I suck at also by the way) if you ask me. I just wanted to learn how to speak Spanish fluently, not learn all the present participle stuff . . . oh well. I managed to pass the course with a "C" and also managed to pull my GPA down a notch or two.
My biggest mistake in my life history, was walking into my bosses office (He spent eight years in Peru with his father who was a chemist for Honeywell) and responding to his greeting,
"¡Buenos días!" by saying, "¡Buenos días! ¡Cómo sean usted esta mañana de multa!" Ever since that day I have been assigned every Spanish client who walked into our facility . . . I've worked with South Americans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Spaniards, Portugese and Central Americans. I am well known in the Latino sector of Manchester, New Hampshire to every latino kid who is sentenced to our program. Once, I was working on a Friday, our admission day, and in walks a client of latino persuasion . . . he peers at my nametag and exclaims, " ¡Ah! ¡Tan usted es Jaime! ¡Yo lo buscaba!" . . . . . Great, another week from hell.
So, that's my story about my Spanish background. Hell, I'm almost half Spanish blood from my mother, but living up in Yankeeland is doing a tune on my Spanish. Perhaps I will start some new kind of dialect! Ha!

Well, that's enough for today . . . hope you have a magnifying glass for this font until I figure out how to alter the HTML code (Language?) . . . . ha, ha, ha!



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