Posted by paulrivas on:
Clare works with a chola who doesn't speak Spanish, at a place that
serves a high number of Spanish speakers. When someone comes who speaks
Spanish, the chola asks Clare, "Eh, can you talk to 'er, eh? She speak
Spanish, fool." It may be that the chola speaks perfect Spanish but
chooses to let the coworker with the bilingual pay supplement of
$0.50/hour handle it. She could also very well be the granddaughter (or
great-granddaughter) of immigrants, and not speak Spanish, but no doubt
understand some. (Many in my dad's family are this way, but not me,
because I studied Spanish for 10 years to make up for my dad never
having spoken to me in Spanish.)
Yesterday, I was in Vons, shopping for chicken, chile and cheese to go with the onion and tortillas at home to make alambre de pechuga, Rivas Cultural Services' signature dish, for Clare on the occasion of her coming home from a week in Scotland. I selected what Vons calls a "pasilla chile", but what is actually a chile poblano. Pasilla means raisin, and a chile pasilla, or pasilla chile, is type of chile that looks like a raisin. So Vons is calling one of their chiles by the wrong name, so what? Ordinarily, nothing, but yesterday, when I went to pay for the chile, I was attended by a young man who appeared to be of 100% Latino descent yet speak no Spanish. Upon picking up my unbagged, unmarked chile, he considered it briefly and asked, "Is this a pasilla?", in a way that rhymed with Godzilla. To which I could only say, "Yeah, bro."
Walking through Isla Vista on my way into work this morning on the street called El Greco, I passed an apartment building called The El Greco.