Wednesday, March 01, 2006

mocos: welcome to the neighborhood

I’ll admit it. I had my doubts about this new place before we moved here. Isaac and I are always out and about, the neighborhood matters a lot to us. Before, I’d walk down the picturesque little tree-lined streets of downtown peering in the windows of consignment shops or craning to see the surf crashing just a couple more blocks away. It was gruesomely sweet, strangely polite, cruelly foggy, but it was comforting none the less. What would my new space bring me?

I was buying a bagel sandwich for lunch in the ugly shopping mall that is now what is closest to home – closer than the surf or the unreasonably-priced little blue sets of china. Isaac was in the backpack still sniffling from his teething (#7 and #8 are through the gum line!) and the end of a cold. The woman waiting on us was pleasant enough, kept glancing back at Isaac, admiring my handsome boy, I was sure. As our transaction came to an end and she handed me my change, she leaned in a bit and confided softly, “He’s got mocos.” Excuse me? I asked. “He’s got mocos,” the woman repeated.

Mocos is the Spanish word for snot, boogers, or whatever else might be running or hanging out of the nose. “Oh. Thanks,” I told her, not sure the proper reply to such a statement. But I walked away happy. She didn’t have any kind of accent at all; and I certainly don’t necessarily project “Spanish-speaker” when you see me coming, yet she chose to use and assumed I would know this term, never anticipated I wouldn’t, in fact, even when the unexpected nature of the comment had me asking her to repeat herself; she never altered her vocabulary. Cool. This is the product of our new neighborhood, which, I must tell you, I am enjoying greatly.

I am reminded of a trip Mike and I made once to a hiking spot about an hour away. Before we got there, we stopped in a little town called Gonzalez that sits virtually in the middle of nowhere to get gas. Mike went into the minimart store to pay. He came out beaming. “They spoke to me in Spanish! Me!” he squeaked gleefully, pointing at his Irish, French-Canadian complexion. “What did they say?” I asked him. “I have no idea!” he told me, still high from the experience. “That’s great, honey.”

I think we’ll like it just fine here.

1 comment:

judy said...

It's good to have you back, Kiddo. Nice place you've got there, too.

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