Saturday, November 19, 2005

Si me voy - va a ser peligro

Si me quedo es doble
So you gotta let me know
Me tienes que decir
Should I stay or should I go?
"Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" The Clash

I know that I have mentioned it before, but I have always been crushingly shy. I had to wear a patch over my eye in much of elementary school, along with these glasses, and that always makes youstand out. I was the total 6'1" 139 lb dork with glasses for three years who finally senior year after the years of abuse suddenly figured out I could see without the glasses, gained 30 lbs of muscle and grew into his own person. Even then I bore the scars of one who went through three years of torture at the hands of the popular clique of girls. They were just much nicer about it is all.

So I went from this:

Into this awkward teen.

BTW, that is the QuestingCat, my baby bro and I in 1984 (the year of the Los Angeles Olympics, hence the USA Tee-shirt.) When he was in Kindergarten a few years later I joined the Army, started lifting weights and running nearly extreme amounts, I turned into this:

When this photo was taken, I scored over a 290 on my PT test every time (NEVER maxed sit-ups, but always maxed push ups and run!) could run 10k in less than 35 minutes, and was nearly an E-6 after about 5 years in. Needless to say, things got easier for me in the ladies department. Not much, but easier though. I was stationed in Fayetteville, N.C. and there were more GI's chasing after the women than you could imagine. (The picture was taken in Jerusalem, where Christ was held before his Crucifixion.)

Regardless, I still carried that tormented, shy soul of the second grader who was picked on for wearing glasses. The High School Freshman, shy but from San Diego moving into the small rural town and was too uncomfortable to meet people on his own. Those scars were deep. It wasn't until I was in the Army that I developed the persona that could bartend and entertain people, and actually expect people to hear me.

Here I am today, in all of my fat and happy Dad and married joy! Content where I am, just wondering where I have been. Life is funny sometimes.

If you ever see me behind the bar in Destin, Florida, say hi please. Better yet, say it in Spanish!

In my restaurant, the back of the house, like most restaurants in the USA is basically "en Espanol." They understand you, but not really. They wouldn't be on the line if they couldn't understand what 86 onion meant, but ask them what they do after work and there is a barrier. So because of my crushing shyness noone has known that I can speak Spanish until very recently

Too often, I am still that scarred little boy, scared to talk to anyone that doesn't need to talk to me, regardless of being 35 years old, married, and happy in my station. Then one night we had a dishwasher named Jorge with ZERO English come out and hook up the front of the house during the Homecoming weekend for most of the busboys, all high school seniors. He realized quickly that I spoke Spanish. Jorge and I have talked ever since. I nearly made him piss his pants when I finally told him a few of my Spanish jokes! I speak Spanish pretty well, though would be hard pressed to call myself fluent. I spent 4th to 8th grade in the Southern California School System, learning so many basics to Spanish. When it came time to learn a language other than English for real, I chose Spanish. DUH! I spent four years learning the language in high school, and then spent two more in college, reading literature and stories and novellas. I unfortunately speak Spanish properly better than most of the Mexicans that wash dishes. On the flip side, they LOVE that. They LOVE having a gringo on THEIR side of an issue, who to them sounds educated. When a prep cook was shorted on their pay, who did they come to? ME! When they have a problem with a shit-head waiter who won't scrape food off of plates, who do they ask for help? ME. I once told them that I USED to be a soldier in the Army, and their nickname for me ever since has been Soldado. I told them that it has been TEN YEARS since I was un soldado, but they told me that to them, I would always be Soldado... I am happy with this arrangement, and amazingly enough, so is management.

One of the jokes that I told these guys that has ALWAYS worked for me is as follows: It ONLY works in Spanish, but that is the part that astonishes most people who ten minutes before had no IDEA that I spoke their language....

Que es la differencia entre el Presidente de Columbia, and el Presidente de los Estados Unidos Clinton?

(What is the differenece between the President of Columbia, and President Clinton of the USA?)

they always answer "No se." (I Don't know.)

That is when I say (watch for the near-rhyme here!) Uno esta buscando for coca, y el otro para cuca! (which roughly and in slang Spanish translates into "One is looking for coke(drugs), and the other for pussy!" and the Latinos nearly piss their pants laughing. Every Mexican/Latino to date that I have told that joke to for almost eight years has known what a horn-dog Billy-bob is!? Isn't that amazing?)

It has brought me near celebrity status these days in our little restaurant. I have been so successful they are going to have me become the "head trainer for the new waitstaff." I have been there about six weeks. NOW they hear me talk to the back of the house just like the front? Why didn't they know that before? That shy little kid is why. They love that I speak Spanish, they love my food and beverage knowledge, and I am smoking the rest of the staff in sales...FUCK!! Pretty soon they are going to make me a manager, and then I will have to take a pay cut!

In the meantime, i hope that you enjoyed the pics...


At Sat Nov 19, 06:25:00 AM, Blogger AlliCadem said...

those pics are hot! But I guess that's just one of the reasons I married you. ;)
I am proud of you, doing your Spanish and helping others.... I love you.

Don't forget that you're MY favorite!

At Sat Nov 19, 12:18:00 PM, Blogger waltoncad said...

Like I said, I'm fat and happy right here where I'm at!

At Mon Nov 21, 10:24:00 PM, Blogger Tammi said...

Love the pics - especially you and QC!

BTW - I can relate to the shyness and such so very much. It's hard to get past - but when you do...what a great feeling!

And you can bet the house - if I make it down there I'm stoppin' in at that bar! I'll even give you fair warning!!!

At Wed Nov 23, 03:40:00 AM, Blogger Desultory Girl said...

Awesome post. Not just for the hot pic ;), which by the way, my favorite boy in the whole entire world went to Jerusalem and came back with pics from there. (God, do I miss him, like no other.)

Also, I feel you on the shy thing. I got made fun of to when I was younger in high school, my twin didn't (how fuckin' weird) But it turns out many of us that were treated as the "ugly ducklings" as kids ;) grew into some hot, friendly, and great individuals.

Anyway, part of the reason I'm joining the army is so that I can bring out the best in me and many times I think the shyness hides the good stuff, if ya know what I'm saying.

Congrats, Soldada! You said two key words in one sentence that are the most important things in the world to have, in my humble opinion, and that's happy and joyfulness. Because in the end having that and sharing it with your loving family is all that matters in this world.

What a great post! Thanks for sharing that.

Alli, you got quite a catch girl ;) The shy, introverted ones (or at least they appear to be) are the keepers.


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