Smoke ’em if you got ’em / Fúmalos si los tienes

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

AFTER READING MY SISTER DALE’S letter yesterday, I thought of a story from our long ago past, before reality had overwhelmed our lives.

One day, when Dale was not quite 15 and I was not quite 13, we were in the apartment alone. I found her sitting on the sofa smoking a cigarette. Well, she wasn’t actually smoking the cigarette, really, she was blowing into it. Sparks were flying across the room.

I was taken aback. “What are you doing?” I demanded.

“What does it look like?!? I’m smoking.”

I said, in my infinite wisdom, “Well, you’re not supposed to blow into it. You’re supposed to suck the smoke into your mouth.”

She had a very logical response. “I tried, but I don’t like it. It makes me cough.”

“Then, you shouldn’t smoke,” I announced. “You don’t look cool.”

I TOLD THE STORY several years ago in Sevilla to our friends Tere and Miguel. They spoke little to no English, so I did a fractured Spanish version (I can — and will today — do a better Spanish version). I was able to find most of the words I needed, but I got stuck on the room where the event took place.

My parents’ apartment had a formal entry, what is known as a “foyer.” My family used it as a den of sorts, with bookshelves, sofa and TV. My sister was sitting in that room on that sofa when we had our exchange. The Spanish equivalent for “foyer” (of French origin) would be entrada or vestíbulo. But that didn’t occur to me as I told the story.

I mentioned the “foyer,” pronouncing it the un-classy American way (FOY-urr). Miguel and Tere didn’t know what I meant. So I then pronounced it the French (and pretentious American) way (fo-YAY). Miguel and Tere smiled and tittered.

With further explanation, it was determined that I meant “entrada.” But, Tere said in Spanish, “You do realize that follé is the past tense of follar, don’t you?” I shrugged. No I did not. Nor did I know what follar was.

I took out my phone, opened the translator, and typed follar. Fuck! Dale would have gotten a good laugh out of that and, if we were still not quite 15 and 13, she would have slapped my face for using such language.

.

DESPUÉS DE LEER LA CARTA de mi hermana DALE ayer, pensé en una historia de nuestro pasado lejano, antes de que la realidad abrumara nuestras vidas.

Un día, cuando Dale no tenía 15 años y yo no tenía 13, estábamos solos en el piso. La encontré sentada en el sofá fumando. Bueno, en realidad no estaba fumando, en realidad, lo estaba soplando. Las chispas volaban por la habitación.

Fui sorprendido. “¿Qué estás haciendo?” exigí.

“¿¡¿Cómo se ve?!? ¡Estoy fumando!”

Dije, en mi infinita sabiduría: “Bueno, se supone que no debes soplar. Se supone que debes aspirar el humo en tu boca”.

Ella tuvo una respuesta muy lógica. “Lo intenté, pero no me gusta. Me hace toser”.

“Entonces, no deberías fumar”, anuncié. “No te ves guay”.

LES CONTÉ LA HISTORIA hace varios años en Sevilla a nuestros amigos Tere y Miguel. Hablaban poco o nada de inglés, así que hice una versión en español fracturada (puedo, y lo haré hoy, hacer una mejor versión en español). Pude encontrar la mayoría de las palabras que necesitaba, pero me quedé atascado en la sala donde tuvo lugar el evento.

El pido de mis padres tenía una entrada formal, lo que se conoce como “vestíbulo”. Mi familia lo usaba como una especie de estudio, con estanterías, sofá y televisión. Mi hermana estaba sentada en esa habitación en ese sofá cuando tuvimos nuestro intercambio. El equivalente en español de “foyer” (de origen francés) sería entrada. Pero eso no se me ocurrió mientras contaba la historia.

Mencioné el “foyer”, pronunciándolo al estilo americano sin clase (FOY-urr). Miguel y Tere no sabían a qué me refería. Entonces lo pronuncié al estilo francés (y pretencioso estadounidense) (fo-YAY). Miguel y Tere sonrieron y rieron.

Con más explicaciones, se determinó que me refería a “entrada”. Pero, dijo Tere en español, “Te das cuenta de que follé es el tiempo pasado de follar, ¿no es así?” Me encogí de hombros. No, no lo hice. Tampoco sabía qué era follar.

Saqué mi móvil, abrí el traductor, y escribí follar. Joder! Dale se habría reído mucho de eso y, si todavía no tuviéramos 15 ni 13, me habría abofeteado por usar ese lenguaje.

• Still not quite 15 and already a reformed smoker. 1967, Ruggles Mine, Concord, New Hampshire. Our parents were becoming rock hounds. (And I just remembered: That was my T-shirt and she never returned it!)
• Aún no tiene 15 años y ya soy fumador reformado. 1967, Mina Ruggles, Concord, New Hampshire. Nuestros padres se estaban convirtiendo en sabuesos de las rocas. (Y acabo de recordar: Esa era mi camiseta y nunca me la devolvió!)

1955. Lecturing on the dangers of smoking (or, maybe, swearing).

1955. Dar conferencias sobre los peligros de fumar (o tal vez decir palabrotas).

1964. The old apartment and its foyer.
1964. El viejo piso (y, ahora, piso viejo) y su “foyer”.

.

• I stood on the terrace for 15 minutes to snap this kid going down the slide into the water. Fifteen minutes and then he jumped off in the other direction, before they immediately pedaled away. Foyer!
Me quedé en la terraza durante 15 minutos, para fotografiar a este chico bajando por el tobogán al agua. Quince minutos y luego saltó en la otra dirección, antes de que se alejaran inmediatamente. ¡Foyer! (la pronunciación francesa)

Draws, drawers, drawers / Dibuja, cajones, ropas interiores

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I DECIDED TODAY TO SHARE photos of my drawers, because their neatness makes me happy. That (drawers, not their neatness) reminded me of my early childhood and trying to understand the complexities of the English language.

My parents were both born and raised in Brooklyn. My Mother the Dowager Duchess had a fairly sophisticated accent. My father’s accent was less so but not as “street” as it could have been (The Duchess made sure of that).

We lived on Long Island, a suburb of New York City with similar dialect and a few variations of its own. I loved to learn new words and to write them. I sat at the kitchen table one day writing new words just for fun. C-I-R-C-U-L-A, I wrote. My Mother the Dowager Duchess looked over and said, “There’s an ‘R’ at the end,” before saying the word aloud in her New York City accent, “circula.” I replied, “No there’s not. You said ‘circula.’” She said, “Yes, there’s an ‘R’ at the end. It’s silent.”

One evening at dinner, I said, “Please pass the butter,” emphasising the ‘R’ at the end of the word. The Duchess asked, indignantly, “Where did you learn to speak like that?” (Apparently another silent ‘R’.)

Another time, I was doing a homework assignment and I wrote, “Put it in the draw.” The Duchess corrected my spelling. How she explained it was, “The word is ‘draw’ with an ‘ER’ at the end. Not ‘draw’ like a picture.” Argh.

We moved to Brooklyn when I was 10. I had a friend who told me his parents bought him a new ‘chestadraws.’ I had no idea what he was talking about (a chest of drawers).

I left New York a long time ago. I draw a picture and I put my drawers in a drawer. My ‘Rs’ are not silent. And now I’m going to try and explain this all in Spanish.

NOTE:
For those of you who know only a tiny bit of Spanish, the word cajones in the title may have surprised you. Cajones means drawers (like those in your dresser) and is not to be confused with cojones, which means balls (like those in your, um, drawers — well in some drawers).
Speaking of which, my father had a woman on his staff (a supervisor) who annoyed him regularly. She expected to be treated like the men. Imagine that. Her name was Cleo. My father regularly complained to The Duchess about Cleo. He would say, “She’s got a pair of balls for a broad.” If we kids were within hearing range, The Duchess would say, “David!”

.

DECIDÍ HOY COMPARTIR FOTOS DE mis cajones, porque su pulcritud me hace feliz. Eso (los cajones, no su pulcritud) me recordó a mi primera infancia y al tratar de entender las complejidades del idioma inglés.

Mis padres nacieron y se criaron en Brooklyn. Mi madre, la duquesa viuda, tenía un acento bastante sofisticado. El acento de mi padre lo era menos, pero no tan “callejero” como podría haber sido (La duquesa se aseguró de eso).

Vivíamos en Long Island, un suburbio de la ciudad de Nueva York con un dialecto similar y algunas variaciones propias. Me encantaba aprender nuevas palabras y escribirlas. Me senté a la mesa de la cocina un día escribiendo nuevas palabras solo por diversión. C-I-R-C-U-L-A, escribí. Mi madre, la duquesa viuda, miró y dijo: “Hay una ‘R’ al final”, antes de decir la palabra en voz alta con su acento de la ciudad de Nueva York, “circula”. Respondí: “No, no lo hay. Dijiste ‘circula’”. Ella dijo: “Sí, hay una ‘R’ al final. Es silenciosa”.

Una noche, durante la cena, dije: “Por favor, pásame la ‘butter’ [mantequilla]”, haciendo hincapié en la ‘R’ al final de la palabra. La duquesa preguntó, indignada: “¿Dónde aprendiste a hablar así?” (Aparentemente, otra ‘R’ silenciosa).

En otra ocasión, estaba haciendo una tarea y escribí: “Ponlo en el ‘draw’”. La duquesa corrigió mi ortografía. La forma en que lo explicó fue: “La palabra es ‘draw’ [cajón] con una ‘ER’ al final. No ‘draw’ [dibuja] como una imagen.” Uf.

Nos mudamos a Brooklyn cuando tenía 10 años. Tenía un amigo que me dijo que sus padres le habían comprado un nuevo “chestadraws”. No tenía idea de lo que estaba hablando (‘chest of drawers’, una cómoda).

Me fui de Nueva York hace mucho tiempo. Yo ‘draw’ [dibujo] y guardo mi ‘drawers’ [ropa de interior] en un ‘drawer’ [cajón}. Mis ‘R’ no son silenciosas. Esto era bastante confuso en inglés. Espero que tenga al menos algún sentido en español.

T-shirts are organised by collar (v- or crew-neck), by cotton weight, and then (somewhat) by color. And then there’s the special section topped by my South Dakota T-shirts.
Las camisetas están organizadas por cuello (de pico o redondo), por peso de algodón y luego (un tanto) por color. Y luego está la sección especial coronada por mis camisetas de Dakota del Sur.
The underwear is organised by brand (because of fit), by wear order (so they circulate), and by style (briefs, square cuts).
La ropa interior está organizada por marca (por ajuste), por orden de uso (para que circule) y por estilo (calzoncillos, cortes cuadrados).
The sock drawer.
El cajón de calcetines.
Dudo would like to sleep in my drawers. Oh, how I love these cats. Just look at that face.
A Dudo le gustaría dormir en mis cajones. Oh, cuánto amo a estos gatos. Sólo mira esa cara.
And speaking of drawers.
Y hablando de ‘drawers’ (pantalones).

It’sown Sririt of Adventures

It’s Feria (Fair) in Fuengirola this week. I went and saw the beautiful costumes and horses today and took about a gazillion (maybe a few less than a gazillion) photos.

San Geraldo and I met for lunch, because he forgot stores would be closed and there’s no food in the house. Today was the Día de la Virgen Del Rosario (Day of the Virgin of the Rosary).

For no good reason, I went to bed awfully late Tuesday night and I was up early Wednesday morning taking pictures of the sunrise. After lunch, I had a three-hour siesta. It wasn’t a very productive day. So, long after Wednesday’s sunset, here’s Wednesday’s sunrise.

(Click any image for the awesome.)

AND THEN THE VIEW FROM BACK IN BED.

And I’ll finish with a T-shirt I saw emblazoned with my new motto — which I don’t understand.

“LOOK HERE: IT’SOWN FREE CLOTHING THE SRIRIT OF ADVENTURES DESIGN.”
My Sririt Spirit of Adventures is You

Confusing Camisetas

Camiseta is the Spanish word for T-shirt. Especially popular here are T-shirts displaying the names of American destinations, universities, and teams.

Most of the T-shirts are made in China. Printed in English. For a Spanish audience.

New York City — Manhattan, Brooklyn, [The] Bronx, and Staten Island are commonly featured. But rarely correctly. (The fifth borough, Queens, doesn’t get much play.) 

(Click the images. Some will get bigger. None will make more sense.)

WHOA. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN A REALLY TOUGH GANG…
THEY HAD THEIR OWN 100% COTTON, PRE-SHRUNK T-SHIRTS. (I WONDER WHAT THE CITY CREW DID.)

Just the other day I passed someone wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of that great American university, New York City State. Although I myself have never heard of it, I’m sure it must be huge. After all, someone made T-shirts.

THERE’S AN ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS “1978 BROOKLYN” SHIRT,
I DON’T KNOW WHAT WAS AT 235 MYRTLE AVENUE IN 1978,
BUT IT’S NOT THERE NOW.

One morning, while Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here for that post) was still here, we were having coffee downstairs at Cafe El Noventa when a little boy walked by with his mother. As you may remember, Judy is from Seattle, Washington, and so, apparently, was the little boy’s T-shirt.

JUDY HAD NEVER HEARD OF A ROAD NAMED ROUTE 306,
I QUICKLY GOOGLED IT;  IT’S NOT A ROAD BUT A CITY TRANSIT BUS LINE.
AND IT DEFINITELY WON’T TAKE YOU TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
WHICH IS 1,828 KM (1,136 MILES) SOUTH.
A VISITOR FROM MOROCCO, WITH HIS PARENTS AND BROTHER.
THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT “CONEY ISLA ND BEA CH” WAS.
(NOR HAVE I EVER SEEN PALM TREES AND AGAVES GROWING THERE.)

DAVID (Dah-VEED), AT CAFE EL NOVENTA,
WEARING ONE OF HIS FAVORITE OLD T-SHIRTS.
I ASKED DAVID WHAT “WATCHING UPPER” WAS (OTHER THAN AN “HONOUR”).
HIS RESPONSE: “NO TENGO IDEA.” (“I HAVE NO IDEA.”)  HE ASSUMED I WOULD KNOW.

I don’t get it…