El Guapo in DC

I am El Guapo. The most Guapo man in all of DC. Mucho Amor

Friday, March 31, 2006

The MAN: Not keeping me down today

I am not a hater. Si, I dislike a wide variety of things, people and places, but I do not hate. Not much. Bueno, maybe a little I hate.

The thing, or idea, I hate the most is The MAN. You know what I’m talking about.

The guy who keeps you from getting that job? The MAN.
The lady at the supermarket who makes you switch lanes because you have 9 items in the 8 item line? The MAN.
The dude who sells you what appear to be juicy mangoes, but in reality all have worms? THE MAN.

The MAN comes in all shapes, colors, sizes, and situations. The MAN is here to keep us down; to make us frown; to make us bite our lip in anger; to make us clench our fists; to make us feel powerless and alone. I hate The MAN.

The beautiful thing about la vida is that we can fight The MAN from keeping us down. Opportunities arise that allow us to say, “Oh, I’m sorry you little squirrel spit of a man, did I do something to upset you? Did I crack that fragile crystal aura of power that you have?” I live for those moments.

Years ago I witnessed an elderly woman being harassed on the Metro for taking a bite of an orange. When I heard the yelling I automatically thought someone had finally been able to combine the mad cow disease with the avian flu (like mi madre always warns me about) to destroy all the commuters. Then, I saw the circular orange shape in the woman’s hand and I was confused.

The woman, didn’t speak much English and didn’t understand. I stepped in to translate, but was then told to not.


Um, mam’ this woman doesn’t understand what you’re saying. I’m trying to help you out.

“Sir, STEP BACK or you will be arrested.” Yes my friends. I was dealing with The MAN.

Someone in the back yelled out that the you are not able to eat or drink on the Metro. The elderly woman felt horrible and threw away her orange globe of horror. Did the Metro officer stop? No. She continued to berate this woman in a manner that I felt was completely unnecessary. She was The MAN.

I think that same year a woman was arrested for eating a PayDay bar…..

So, yesterday, I was riding the Metro Bus like I normally do when I saw something glorious. To my right was a Metro worker. The same kind that is able to arrest people for eating malicious candy bars and evil drinks on any Washington DC transit system.
What was she doing? See for yourself:

Oh no, that is not Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass on her lap. That, my friends is a Wendy’s salad. Don't let the "W" confuse you. God knows we Americans have been confused enough by that letter.

Maybe she was going to look at it and eat it later. She knows the rules that she enforces with an iron fist. Oranges, chocolate bars, sodas? Not on her watch mami! But wait:

mmmmmmmmm Thousand Island dressing.............

Si, it looks like the rules and regulations of Metro don’t apply to the very people who yell at elderly women and handcuff people for having a quick snack. This, mis amigos, is a perfect example of The MAN.

Look, I like that our Metro system is very clean. I really do. It would just be nice to see the The MAN following their own rules. This, was just my little way of fighting to keep The MAN down.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gracias. No thanks. Take care. Lube.

Que? No. I don’t think that will necesario Mr. Doctor. Just turn around and be on your merry way. I turn my head, I cough, you say again, I cough, everything is fine. That’s all I need. Gracias. Don’t look at me that way you son of a bitch. No. Maybe you don’t understand the words coming out of my mouth. Yes, I know that perhaps you have what the kids call a man-crush and look, I’m flattered. Really. But what you are suggesting isn’t going to happen. Not today, not tomorrow, I’m fine. Gracias. Take care. Hasta luego. Peace out. Later. Ciao. Turn around. I'm serious.

No, don’t grab that bottle of lube. Por favor. Maybe my rugged good looks are throwing you off a little bit. Yes, even someone as handsome as me can kick your gringo, bow-tie-wearing ass out of the 4th floor window. I swear to every single saint in the sky that if you come close to me with that bottle of lube there will be hell to pay.

Hey! Cabron! What the hell are you putting those gloves on for? No! I will NOT turn around. YOU turn around you sick hijo de una puta! Here, give me that lube. You have no business even having this lube. DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN! You calm down! Why do you want to do this test Mr. Ivy League fancy diploma on the wall? I read. I’m too young for this test. I’m seriously not going to turn around, so you can take off those gloves, wash your hands, write a note in my file and let me go.

How the hell do YOU know about my family history? Let me see. Oh, come on…. You’re going to believe this crap? Seriously, Mr. Doctor, come on. Do you really place any validity on what some doctor in Guatemala says? Vamos…. The same doctor that “diagnosed” my uncle also was responsible for caring for our cattle. Give me a break.

Fine. That sort of death doesn’t sound very appealing, so I will let you do your fancy little test on me, but you have ten seconds. So help me, if you’re in there for more than ten seconds I will not be as handsome. HEY! Whoa. What's going on here? Don’t, don't put that bottle of lube down hombre! I HAVE insurance. You lather on that lube like it’s your JOB. Come on, don’t be cheap. Yes, yes, you do need more. I said more!


Why…… are you………. having a conversation with me right now? Are you really asking me if I’m uncomfortable? No. No! I’m not fucking comfortable right now. This very well may be the most UN-comfortable moment in my life. Does anyone say, “Si, Mr. Doctor. I am very comfortable. Es muy bueno. Take your time?” No, no one says this. Why do you ask me? In fact, I can’t guarantee that I won’t turn around and punch you in the face after you’re done. Dios mio! What in the name of holy hell is taking you so long? It’s not that big of an area! I told you to use more lube. Get the bottle! You need more lube! I don’t care that you’ve done this a thousand times. Hurry the hell up. Sweet Christo!

Of course everything is normal you bald rosy-faced bastard. How about you give me something to clean myself with? What the hell is this? You’re going to give me a two inch one-ply piece of paper? You can’t even have the common courtesy to give two-ply? Did you get this from a public restroom? Yes, I do need another piece of two inch paper, sir. Give me about ten.

Hey! Where are you going? Oh, you’re going to leave me here like this? In and out, huh? I see how it is. No, I won’t throw my blue robe in the basket. What do you think of that? That’s right. I fight to keep the man down. This robe is going to get tossed in the corner. How do you like that, bitch?

Wait! Um, en serio, can I have another one of those papers? Please?

Call me…

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Friday, March 24, 2006

No Quotes Needed

Latin men are passionate, but when it comes to affairs of the heart, we are guarded. Some of you may recall that Miguel had been spending a lot of time with a rubia he met some months ago. Well, Miguel informed me today that this was no longer.

I didn’t ask any questions because his eyes looked tired from staring at nothing. Mi amigo is a romantic who has the unfortunate luck of always falling for the women who allow him to do just that. Fall.

Although alcohol isn’t the end all be all of anyone’s problems, it is the preferred way for males to unwind. I call up Miguel’s cousin Rodrigo and we meet at a bar nearby.

The original topic of conversation, how the U.S. soccer team was beaten by Germany this last week, was started by Rodrigo’s primo Jimmy (pronounced Himmy, Miguel’s third cousin.) Miguel, who is a soccer aficionado, wasn’t chiming in with his usual Rainman-like statistics.

“Snap out of it uey! You’re depressing this entire restaurant with your look.”

“You’re depressing me with your face. My look will go away later today, quiza tomorrow, but your face will always be like that. This is what depresses me.”

Mi amigo is not in the mood to talk. Maybe bringing him here was a bad idea. Maybe we should have sat around the TV eating chips. I just happen to have purchased some at CVS. Stupid El Guapo…

“Miguel, look, don’t take your little fight with the rubia out on me!”

Ok, uncomfortable silence. Third-cousins… what does that mean anyway? I don’t really count third-cousins as being related. I don’t have one third cousin that I’ve liked. Jimmy wasn’t really that close with Miguel and was interested in his own voice. Rodrigo wasn’t doing anything but watching the TV, then all of a sudden, he chimed in:

“It’s better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all.”

“What? What did you just say?”

He repeated it without looking away from the TV.

“Who the FUCK says this?”

“It’s something people say.”

“What people say this? En serio, what kind of people allow this mierda to come out of their mouths?”

Silence. Miguel’s chin was tilted towards his chest with his lips firmly pressed together as he stared at Rodrigo.

“Miguel, it’s something people say. It’s a saying. It means that you’re much better off than those that have never been in love.”

“That….is by far…..the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. You….become….the dumbest fucking person for repeating the dumbest fucking thing. You think it’s better to have loved and lost? You think so? Let me tell you something, you inbred bastard. Do you think, for one segundo, that I enjoy waking up in the morning afraid, because I know that she’s not by my side? Do you think I like holding back tears every moment that I’m awake because every little thing I see reminds me of her? Do you think that I enjoy the feeling of empty air coming in and out of my chest when I see a happy couple walk by? Do you think I fucking enjoy, even a little bit, knowing that I’m going to be going home by myself tonight and that she’s out there with some hijo de una puta? Rodrigo? Do you? Better to have loved and lost? No. No, it’s not better. The person who said that has never lost love. The person who said that has never been in love to have lost it. So do me a favor. Keep your fucking mouth shut if you’re going to say things like that!”

Miguel looked over at me with a look that I understood to mean, “Coming here was a great idea…,” he got up and stormed off.

I threw some money for the two of us on the table and stormed after him leaving Jimmy and Rodrigo still reeling from the verbal lashing just witnessed.

Miguel walked with his shoulders forward and hands in his pockets. I caught up with him, put my hand out and firmly grabbed his shoulder.

No words. No quotes.

Just two amigos walking down the street trying to make it with dry cheeks in this crazy world.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hybrid Trash

Tengo un problema. Maybe I shouldn’t have a problema. You tell me. Por favor.

I’m very happy that the new residents of mi barrio choose to purchase hybrid vehicles. I’m very happy that they are saving money on gasoline. I’m very happy that they get a tax rebate for this purchase. I’m very happy that they are helping keep the Saudi Arabian man down. What is mi problema?

It seems that the owners of these hybrid cars have a problem understanding the rules of street parking. Maybe I’m over-generalizing. Let me re-phrase. It seems that the owners of COMPACT cars have a problem understanding the rules of street parking.

Mi amigo, you are driving a Tercel. You don’t need to take up two city blocks to park your car. Are you afraid that someone is going to scratch the bland gray off of your new Hybrid Civic? I can understand this concern, but please remember your fellow man that gets home at 1 AM and must park in front of the fire hydrant because you park your car with enough room for a Bolivian family of five to sleep head-to-toe in the front and back of your car. All you need is one foot at most. Just a thought.

I’d also like to remind the familia living across the street from me that their 40oz beer cans would look just as good in a trash can than on the front of their house. In the beginning, I told myself that you were artists expressing yourselves through the medium of trash. I don’t know, maybe you were protesting the commercialization of Navidad by throwing colored bottles in your front yard. Now, I realize that you are just lazy, enjoy throwing bottles from your porch and enjoy making my people look bad.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not a Fetish

Look, before you read this entry it is muy importante that you know that El Guapo does not have any fetishes.

Sure, I like flan, but I’ve never incorporated it into any of my passionate Guatemalan love making. Si, I appreciate it when women take the time to purchase sexy lingerie, but you will not find me with the desire to wear them. They look better on women and on my bedroom floor. There is one thing, however, that could maybe be considered a fetish of mine. Maybe. What is it? I like feet.

Now, before I get judged by the Minutemen out there, please know that I don’t yearn to get stepped on, kicked, toe-sucking, blah-blah-blah-blah etc etc. You understand what I mean. I simply like a woman to have nice feet.

El Guapo, why nice feet?

Well, it is a well known fact that I, as a Guatemalan male am an expert in women. We are the chosen people. Well, the chosen Latino people. When I see a woman with well kept feet, I know that this is a woman who takes care of herself. This is a woman who has spent the time focused on the body part that gets beaten up daily to make them look beautiful. I appreciate this.

But El Guapo, what is it that makes feet nice?

Excellent question. There are several factors that contribute to one’s feet being nice. I will list them for you in no particular order:

a) Polish. It is not necessary to polish your toenails in order to make your feet nice. I have seen many nice feet without any toenail polish, but it is important that you make up your mind. Either you paint, or you don’t. There is no in-between. There are many things that make me cry (non-flan related) and a woman with cracked toenail polish is one of them. To me, I just feel like she has given up. I don’t wish to be with a woman who gives up like that. It depresses me so much that I just lit a candle. I’m not sure if this saint, San Judas Tadeo, can help with cracked toenail polish, but I’m sure he’ll do some good.

b) Toes. Yes, I realize that toes really only make up about 30% of the foot, but they are an important 30%. I like toes to be straight. Are your toes crooked from having to cram them into ballet shoes? I’m sorry. I may not like your feet. Actually, I may ask you to wear your socks at all times. Hammer toes have always made me cry. Ballet is beautiful, but Ave Maria, those feet… No thank you. Also, don't think that I can't tell you have crooked toes because you have them covered. There are some things that your Manolo's just can't hide. Lo siento.

c) Hair. But El Guapo, if I shave it, it will grow thicker!!! Look querida, that is just a risk that you are going to have to take. I have once seen a beautiful woman with hair on her big toe. I have yet to heal from the visual scar that caused. You do not know this because you are reading, but I had to take a break from writing because I threw up a little bit on my keyboard. Please, no toe-hair. Why stop at the ankles? Give the foot the razor amor that it deserves. Just remember the acronym: THB (Toe Hair Bad). Por favor!

d) Nail length. Have you ever cut someone with your toe nail? If so, it is too long. Does your toenail stick out past the end of your open-toed shoes? Si? Too long mami. Cut them. Use scissors, a sander, whatever you need to take care of that. You just made the little boy across the street cry when he looked at your feet. Why must you make the child cry? Why? I sometimes see women with such long toe nails that I imagine they must somehow use them for their cocaine habit. I don’t ask questions, but it is my understanding that a longer pinky nail (on your mano) works best. This is a very sensitive subject for me as I have a scar on my lower right calf from someone who didn’t bother to cut their toe nails.

These are the four factors that I use to judge nice feet. It is also easily remembered with the word Po-To-Ha-Na. It’s also fun to say PoToHaNa. You can also use the two letter abbreviations alone or in conjunction with others: PoTo, ToNa, PoHaNa etc.

Now, am I so vain that I would stop dating a woman because she had bad feet? In my youth, yes. Now, no. I will say, however, that when I was a boy I told my sisters that I would only seriously be with someone who had nice feet. Mercedes, my ex, had horrible feet. Truly horrible. They were crooked from wearing small shoes, her toes were unusually tiny, and she had a really barely-even-there pinky toe nail that scared me. Did I love her? Si, mucho. Are we still together? No, it didn’t work out. Was it because of her feet? I’d like to think so, but no.

I believe that Dios has saved me a nice chica who will put up with me and at the same time have nice feet.

Ah, for the record, I do not have nice feet. However, mis hermanas and madre do. Luckily for my future children, the foot gene is passed from the mother’s side.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tomato Allergies

Mi hermana brought home a gringo yesterday. I haven’t decided if I’m going to like him, but I must admit that I’m strongly leaning towards pretty much hating him.

Mira, no man is good enough for mi hermanita. This I know. But in comes “Derek” with his fancy blue eyes, spiky blonde hair, and orange Lacoste shirt and I decided that I really wasn’t going to like him. It didn’t help him that he was well over six feet tall. Ladies, what must I do to make you realize that tall men are overrated?

It’s not a bad thing to look down into your man’s eyes. Why do you want to look up? Your neck will hurt after some time and if you end up with them you will eventually become crooked. So please, in the name of good posture, stop dating tall men. I digress…

Derek. I don’t understand this name. It sounds too harsh on my ears. If the hard “k” sound is to be in a word, it should be followed by a vowel. No exceptions.

I was very polite to Derek and asked him if I could offer him something to drink.

“Oh, yeah. Can I have a water?”

What the hell is this, Cactus Cantina? You come into mi casa you giant son of a bitch and you ask me for water?

How about a beer, Derek?

I am sure to over-pronounce the “k” and mi hermana noticed. All I’m saying is that if a man offers you a drink, you don’t ask for water. At least not in mi casa. He probably doesn’t drink scotch either. Mi hermana brought home a gringo…

At dinner the conversation was boring. Hedge fund this, mutual fund that, options, blah blah blah. His hair was too spiky and blonde. I bet he wraps a sweater around his shoulders when it gets too cold. He looks as if his mother’s name is Buffy or Kitty. Oh yes, he’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s day. Am I being too harsh?

I look over while trying not to fall asleep to his verbal taco salad and realize that he hasn’t touched any of his tomatoes. What in the name of Santo Domingo is this all about?

Derek, you don’t like tomatoes?

“Oh, yeah, I’m allergic actually.”

You’re allergic to tomatoes?

What man is allergic to tomatoes?

“Yeah, I break out in hives when I eat them.”

Hives…. Derek just received my Man-Woman of the Year Award. The local transvestites finally have competition. Why can’t mi hermana find a nice Guatemalan man?

In my many years of studying human behavior I’ve determined (just now) that I don’t like people who are allergic to tomatoes. If you don’t like to eat something just say so. Don’t give me this allergic talk. If that’s the case, I’m allergic to lima beans.

Derek, do you play soccer?

“No, I played lacrosse in college.”

Si, why wouldn’t you…. Mi hermana hears me mutter this and kicks me under the table. She is a feisty little creature, mi hermana. The women in my family have a tendency to kick my shins under the table. I believe that I have nerve damage from this and will one day be a cripple. I wouldn’t mutter if they stopped bringing home the tall gringos.

My mind flashes to their wedding at the country club and how all their fair-skinned guests mistake me for their waiter. How all of a sudden my sister becomes “exotic” in their eyes because she is marrying a man with a name containing a hard “k”. She is no longer Latina, Hispanic, or the brown little girl. She is Derek’s wife and is “exotic”. Buffy, your daughter in law is beeeautiful. She is so exotic. Is she Italian? I’ll tell you what, those Mediterranean women are so exotic. I just have to stay by Henry’s side when we go to Europe because he just loves them. Oh, Guatemalan? Yes, frightful history they’ve had. Our gardener is either Guatemalan or Nicaraguan. Who knows anymore!

“El Guapo, Derek has a sister who likes to dance.”

“Yeah, man. Tracy loves Latin dancing. Your sister tells me you can cut a mean rug.”

Cut a rug? I don’t even act like I know what the diablo that means. A sister? She must be blonde, have blue eyes, tan from sun, toned legs from tennis…. Maybe I can get used to this Derek fellow.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rule Number 1

You know, I believe that women should be treated fairly in the workplace. I’ve grown sick and tired of seeing women have to sit in the back of the truck for so long. It is time they call “shot gun” and ride in the front seat for good. Actually, forget riding in the front seat. It’s time they drive the truck.

Why am I such a feminist this morning?

I just witnessed a neighborhood woman get the raw end of a business transaction. You see, one of the local prostitutes forgot the #1 rule of turning tricks: Get your money first.

Maybe he had an honest face. Maybe his command of four letter words made him trusting. Maybe the shirt with the mysterious yellow stain made him seem charming. I don’t know. You know why? Rule #1 of tricking: Get your money first. No exceptions.

I wasn’t there to see the transaction, but I was there to hear the aftermath. It seems that the customer wasn’t satisfied with the transaction and refused to pay. While I believe that rule number one should have been followed, I still believe that the woman was taken advantage of. Would this have happened if the gentleman was with one of the local transvestites? No. First, they always follow rule number one and would not tolerate back talk from their customers.

I just wish the customer understood Spanish because the poetry spewing from this woman’s mouth was truly beautiful:

“Oh, Captain Tiny Pants doesn’t want to pay? You give me my money you Two Minute Champion!”

I almost went outside to serve as a translator, but I did not wish to interfere in a private business transaction.

Captain Tiny Pants and Two Minute Champion. I love mi barrio so much. So very much.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ricky the Pilot

“Charly’s wife just gave birth to a mongoloid.”

That word made my world stop. Words like that freeze your gaze while you fear looking at where it came from in shame.


“You know, a mongoloid. Like, not right in the cabeza. All mongoloidy looking. Come on, you know what I’m talking about.”

The thing is, he doesn’t realize what he’s saying is absolutely horrible. That’s a word that I don’t hear thrown around as much in the States, but down south is used with frequency. The term “Politically Correct” hasn’t really made its appearance in Latin America. At least not compared to DC.

Miguel, I’m not sure if it’s right to use that word. It’s better to say “disabled.”

“Ok…. Like they know the difference.”

My good amigo is not a bad person, but just ignorant at times.

Miguel, it’s not really a matter of them knowing the difference. It’s more about giving them the respect as a human being.

“El Guapo, I remember you always making fun of your mom’s friend when we were kids. Come on.”

Miguel was right. When I was a child I was exposed to an adult who was mentally disabled. He was my madre’s godmother’s daughter’s son (follow this?).

When I was about 6 years old I would accompany mi madre to visit her godmother.

“El Guapo, Ricky is special. He is grown man, but he thinks like he is 4 years old. You’re going to have to play with him, but just be patient.”

Ricky was well over 6 feet tall and a big guy. The first time I met him he was wearing a pilot’s hat, a white polo shirt, and green shorts. Mi mother would go visit her godmother while I was left to play with Ricky.

“I bet you don’t have a pilot’s hat.”

I don’t.

“I didn’t think you did. The pilot gave it to me when I was in a big airplane. I knew you didn’t have one, but I wanted to make sure.”

I don’t want a pilot’s hat.

“Yes you do. You’re jealous. Want to put it on? Too bad. You can’t. It’s mine, so don’t even ask.”

Patience. I learned about patience with my interactions with Ricky. As a six-year old kid, this was hard. I was looking at a man, a grown man, who was treating me like an idiot.

Si, your hat is great. I’m very jealous. Want to go outside and play with GI Joes?

So, we would go out to the back yard and play with his HUGE collection of GI Joes.

“You can’t have this one. This one is mine. You can have that one.”

This one doesn’t have legs. I don’t want this one.


Fine. He’ll just walk with his arms and do amazing acrobatic moves. See?

I would act like the broken soldier could run with his arms and do amazing flips into the air while we played war.

“Give me that! That’s my soldier and I want to play with him!”

No! I want the amazing soldier. You didn’t let me have the good ones, so let me play with this.

At this point Ricky stood up and towered over me. I stood my ground clutching the broken toy soldier behind my back and glared at him. He violently pushed me down.

It’s a humbling experience to be pushed down to the ground with such a force that it gives you a head ache. Tears welled up in my eyes with anger as I stood up and threw the toy down the yard.

Fine, it’s yours. Have it.

At this point Ricky grabbed me by the hair and hammer tossed me to the side while he started to scream bloody murder. Mi madre and his mother ran outside to see what was going on. Ricky ran into his mother’s arms and told them that I was throwing his toys.

I stood there soiled with the dirt from the floor and a look of complete anger.

My mother rushed over to me and whispered loudly for me to behave myself.

I was six and getting thrown around by a man my father’s age. It was a humbling experience and one that would repeat itself many times.

Every time I went to visit, I was reminded of how I didn’t have a pilot’s hat. Every time I went to visit, I had my ass was kicked. Every time I went to visit, I was forced to play with faulty toys that were eventually taken away from me when I found a way to have fun.

This went on for years. I never told mi madre. Although I say today that it is important for everyone to get their ass kicked at least once in their life, it is much different when you are getting pounded by a 6 foot tall grown man in a pilot’s hat and green shorts.

One day, when I was maybe 10 and no longer interested in playing with GI Joes, Miguel and I were over watching TV. I don’t remember what it was that I said, but Ricky grabbed me by the arm and threw me against the wall with such force that I lost consciousness.

When I came to, Ricky was cowering in the corner of the room and Miguel was shaking me awake. For a split second I had forgotten where I was, but when I saw Miguel laughing at me when I opened my eyes I realized the ridiculousness of the situation. I never really asked what it was that Miguel did to the simple giant, but Ricky never laid a hand on me again.

When we were walking home, Miguel reached into his back pocket and put on a pilot’s hat. We innocently laughed for a good ten minutes about what Miguel had just done and went home to play soccer.

Two week later I went back to Ricky’s house and I brought his hat. The look on his face when I walked over with the pilot’s hat is one that I will forever remember. He grabbed the hat and gave me a bear hug.

“El Guapo gracias! You are my best friend. Thank you very much for bringing back my hat! I’m sorry that I threw you against the wall. We’re still friends right?”

Si, Ricky. We are still friends.

Over the years I grew and Ricky didn’t. I would play with him when we went to visit, but after my madre’s godmother passed away the visits grew less and less frequent. Even as a young child I realized the beauty of a person without the mind of an adult. Ricky would always enjoy playing with his GI Joes and wear his pilot’s hat. Like we all do, I became disinterested in these things are started to care about things that were more “important.”

Miguel, sometimes I wish I still had the mind of a child. It wouldn’t be so bad.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Friday, March 10, 2006

Coal Mining

This has been a crazy week in the El Guapo household. Please know that when I use the word “crazy,” I really mean to say that mi madre was nagging up a storm. Porque? Well, our washing machine is broken.

This is not just any washing machine. This is the washing machine that mi madre said was going to change her life. This is the washing machine that made me lose 4 hours of my very precious life while mi dear madre bargained with the Sears salesperson. Did she offer to cook him tamales for a discount? No comment. Is Sears the Saks of Latinos? You bet your sweet Caucasian ass.

One day, and trust me when I say that it was a sad day, this washing machine washed for 3 hours. Clothes that I had worn just yesterday now fit my baby cousin. Anything that was white, was now maroon. Si, someone in mi familia has one (not two) maroon sock and it ruined everything. Why was the cycle 3 hours? Well, I still think that Dios is punishing me for dating an Argentine woman, but what do I know? I’m just a simple Guatemalan.

Anyway, it was determined by my sisters and mother that I should stay at home while the repairman came to take a look at it.

“You’re so good with these things El Guapo. I don’t have the patience to deal with the Sears man today.”

Yes, I’m amazing. I figured out that the washer only works when the laundry room light is on. All of a sudden I’m a regular DeVry grad… Who can say no to their madre?

So, I had to wait between the hours of 9 AM – 4 PM for the Sears man to come.

At exactly 2 PM I received a phone call telling me that “Greg” was on his way. Greg nervously knocked on my door and spoke loudly and slowly when speaking to me. Even when I responded in perfect English, Greg didn’t seem to comprehend that speaking loudly and slowly wasn’t helping our conversation. In fact, it was making me want to shove my fist…..

Anyway, I show my loud, slow-talking Sears man to the laundry room. I showed him a pile of my maroon undershirts and told him what happened.

“Did you read the instruction manual?”

Oh si, like I have time to read the instruction manual.

Yes, sir. I did.

“Tell me exactly what you did.”

Exactly. Ok. There was a pile of clothes in the hamper. The clothes were dirty. I looked over and saw our brand new washer that is supposed to take care of this little problem. I put the dirty clothes in the washer. I chose the largest load option possible. I chose cold water. Then I moved the dial to “Regular” and pulled the lever. Three hours later, the machine was still washing and the water was very hot. This is exactly what I did. Exactly.

“What’s the problem?”

I stared into Greg’s slightly cross-eyed blue eyes and wondered to myself how much better my life would have been if I hadn’t discovered the magic of my laundry room’s faulty wiring.

Well sir, the washing machine was on for 3 hours. The water was hot when I chose cold. My shirts are maroon now.

“Buddy, this is a new kind of a washing machine. This ain’t the kind you’re used to. When you choose the “regular” cycle, it’s going to go to town on your clothes. They don’t mess around anymore.”

Sir, I have never heard of a washing machine that washes for 3 consecutive hours. I realize that you’re the expert, and please pardon me if I’m completely wrong, but when I choose cold I expect that it’s cold. I can’t imagine who would need their clothes washed for three hours.

“Oh man, are you kidding. You should see the people that buy these things. Their clothes are filthy.”

Three hours filthy? What clothes require 3 hours of wash?

“Hell, coal miners man. You need to wash for a long time to get the coal dust out.”

Ave Maria encantada…..

Sir, are you trying to tell me that my family has purchased the coal miners model for this washing machine?

“Yeah man, you can’t be choosing the regular cycle unless you want your clothes to really get washed. You need to choose the light cycle.”

I wanted to ask him what the “super” cycle was for, but I was afraid he’d tell me it was for people who worked in nuclear facilities.

Well sir, it’s obvious that my family bought too much washing machine (he chuckled and nodded his head in agreement). Is it possible that you can check to see why the water was coming out hot when it should have been cold?

He reluctantly agreed to do this for me and figured out that some kind of gauge wasn’t working. He fixed it, we tested the coal-miners cycle again, and it worked.

At the end I was under the impression that Greg was expecting a tip for fixing the washer. This is where my English deteriorated and I began talking about my dream of being a coal miner.

Luckily, if that dream ever comes to fruition, I know that my clothes will be nice and clean.

If you see me walking down the street with a maroon undershirt, por favor, don’t judge. I’m a simple Guatemalan training to be a coal miner.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Monday, March 06, 2006

Losing with a Smile

Today, I had an amiga who lost her abuela back home in Guatemala.

In times like these I've found it best to say little and to listen.

"El Guapo, she was 95, she lived a long, fruitful life, and she went in her sleep. Peacefully… I just never got a chance to say goodbye."

It's hard for me to explain to my American friends what it is like to be far away from everything you know and love. To go to bed every night knowing that the closest you’ll be to your flesh and blood is through pictures or a telephone call.

I remember when my abuelo passed away when I was in the 5th grade. Mi padre told me the news and I looked outside to see my mother looking into the nothingness of the world through her closed eyes.

When she came back into the house I kissed her and hugged her. I was a child and asked her if she was sad.

“Si mi hijo. Mami is sad.”

I’m going to miss him.

“Yes baby. I know. I’m going to miss him too.”

You didn’t even get to say goodbye to him mami. That’s sad.

“I said goodbye to him baby.”

“You did? How?”

“I did. He said goodbye to me in a breeze.”

I remember understanding, but not understanding this back then. All I knew then is that it made me smile because that was something my abuelo would do.

My friend sat silently looking into her thoughts. Then she smiled.

“El Guapo, there is something that makes me smile about my abuela dying. She died one day before my abuelo’s birthday. Mi madre said that she must have wanted to spend his birthday with him.”

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gang Miscommunication

It turns out that some gang members read mi blog.

Yo recently received a slew of e-mails that makes me re-think some of the comments I’ve made in the past regarding the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang. After receiving several e-mails over the past dos semanas, I’d like to say that all of a sudden I don’t think the MS-13 gang is a bunch of pussies.

No, not pussies at all. In fact, I believe that members of the MS-13 gang are the type of people that most Americans would welcome into the United States with open arms.

In an e-mailed response to one of you I may have questioned your methods of attacking your victims with machetes. Did I think it unfair that 10 of you would attack one person? Yes. Do I think that now? No. Not even a little bit. Many of you have a way with words and have persuaded me to think differently. Am I saying that you have a command of written English and Espanol? Oh, not at all. I doubt that many of you ever got past the 4th grade. You are, however, very good at describing acts of violence. So much so that I would like to once again state for the record that not one MS-13 gang member is a pussy. You are the opposite of pussies. Bueno, not dicks per se, but hopefully you know what I mean. I have much respect for you.

In yet another e-mailed response to one of you I may have ridiculed the act of getting tattoos on your faces. I no longer believe that this is “an attempt to hide an already ugly face”. You are all very handsome. In fact, I believe that all the ink on your body makes you even more attractive to the victims you murder. It must be calming to be brutally murdered by a group of handsome fellows like yourself.

Remember how I said that Miguel and I urinate on the “MS-13” letters you like to spray paint on the walls of our neighborhood? I was exaggerating. The word “urinate” was a figure of speech guys. A metaphor if you will. Oh, you don’t know what a “metaphor” is? It doesn’t matter, really. All you need to know is that no urine of ours has ever graced any combination of the letters and numbers “M”, “S”, “1”, and “3”.

MS-13, take care of yourselves. Please accept my apologies for any miscommunication you may have experienced from any of my posts or e-mails. As the Georgetown kids say, “Dad, can I have more money?” or “Keep rocking on!”.

Mucho Amor, <- I mean it.

El Guapo