I had my mom with me this weekend.
And I swear she was on the phone most of the time.
Because there seems to be imminent news that she (and all of the international Cuban community) is anxiously expecting.
Eric (who is of English ancestry) and the kids were half listening to what my mom was saying in Spanish. And although my husband speaks the language very well, he just couldn’t grasp what she was talking about.
So he’s eavesdropping and sticking his head in the office to report on what he thinks she’s saying.
"She answered the phone by asking, ‘What is there?’
Like she’s talking to an informant.
There’s someone ‘singing about the Peanut Vendor.’
And that it’s time to ‘hang up his sneakers.’
Something about ‘rice with mangoes.’
And that it has ‘three peppers of importance.’
Someone named Raúl ‘falls heavily on her.’ "
I tell him thanks and that of course, I understand what’s happening:
"Que hay?" (what is there?) is how she answers the phone. Don’t ask. We all do it. It just is what it is.
There is buzz that fidel is finally dead (cantó el Manicero, or colgo los tenis), but it’s complicated (es un arroz con mango). She doesn’t really care (no le importa tres pepinos) and that his named successor is a boor (me cae pesado).
"But," I protest, "it’s much more fun to say it in Cuban euphemisms."
So in his best English accent, he says:
"So. . . the ailing dictator is bereft of life, a stiff, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet his maker. He is an EX-dictator." (watch the original sketch here)