Speaking-over-a-mile-a-minute-all-the-time-and-constantly-throwing-the-number-409-409-409-in-multiples-of-three-was-literally-her-signature. Like she was in a race to get out what she needed to say before anybody stopped paying attention or she forgot what it was she was trying to say – one or the other – our vecina Juanita spoke faster than anyone we’d ever met.
And just as fast, she was a part of our life. One minute we were moving into our first house, a small little three bedroom-one bathroom place in a lower middle class neighborhood of mostly black and Mexican families, and the next, there she was on the other side of our screen door going on and on about something or other we just assumed my mother understood. All it sounded like to us was ¡409! ¡409! ¡¡409!!‘ Juanita swore by it. According to her, 409 the cleaning product could take care of anything, no matter what it was.
¿O se le tapo el baño? ¡¡409, 409, 409!!
¡Estos-huercos-no-hacen-caso-fijese-que-a-mi-también-me-mancharon-la-carpeta-ayer-si-nomás-me-descuide-un-ratito-iluego-iluego-ya-estaba-toda-manchada-de-puro-chocolate-pero-luego-luego-le-heche-409-y-el-409-fijese-que-es-bien-bueno-que-luego-luego-el-409-409-409-la-dejo-como-nueva! ¿Tiene 409?
¡409! ¡409! ¡¡409!!
Of course her 409 was more like for-ou-nain.
In all honesty we were all quite mean to poor Juanita. The fact she weighed all of 130 pounds, had crazy frizzy hair, wore half-inch thick bifocals, drove a town car-sized sedan, liked wearing teeshirts with kitty cat designs, flowers and the likes with spandex pants and stretchy blue jeans really didn’t help her any either, in our eyes. Even my dad would join in on the arremedadera sometimes. ¡Esa vieja fastidiosa!, he’d yell out of nowhere in that tone of voice we all knew meant he was enjoying what we were saying even if he wasn’t laughing with us.
My mom was the only one that most of the time would refrain from saying anything about her dear friend and vecina Juanita. She was after all her confidant and compañera. When we were all gone to school or work, in my dad’s case, Juanita was the one that would keep her company, that would give her advice, that would cry with her, that would chismear with her, and who really showed my mother the true value of a friendship. Which was why it was so funny when after scolding us for making fun of la pobre de Juanita – ¿ella que les hace? – mom would start imitating her herself almost to the tee, pace of words and mannerisms impeccably Juanita’s.
The odd thing was, after we left that neighborhood we all actually missed Juanita. Life just wasn’t the same without her showing up unannounced at our front door, sending all us kids running through the house trying to get away from her and her high-pitched voice as fast as we could, but never any faster than her lightning-speed flow of words.
We didn’t have anyone to hide from or pretend we weren’t home for anymore in the new house. Juanita, if you’re out there, sorry for all the chistes at your expense…and by the way 409 is actually pretty good for almost anything.
Thanks for the tip.
Que buen post Juan! I do miss those times when meeting our neighbours was the normal thing to do, and even establishing close relationships with them. Aunque fueran metiches!
Sadly nowadays there is no place for the Juanitas in our busy lives. Do you think it might be time to go stick our noses en la casa de al lado?
Jaja! I don´t think I´d be that macha!
Thanks for a great read.
Es muy cierto. Even though Juanita drove us crazy and we really didn’t appreciate having her around in those days, in hindsight her taking so much interest in our household and family was really sweet. Nowadays few people really know who their neighbors are and feel they don’t have a lot of reason to talk to them. But it’s good for the soul and sets a positive example for our kids about what a good neighbor can be. Socializing doesn’t always mean email, phone calls, Facebook or Twitter. So yeah, ve a saludar a tus vecinos 🙂
For ou nain, for ou nain!! I still remember that lol!
jiji… Juanita sounds like a character, maybe someone on Chavito del 8.
We have a vecina with some similar ways pero tengo que decirte en español en caso que ella encuentra mis palabras un día. LOL. Es una mujer de Alemania con acento fuerte y le gusta traernos galletas y queques al montón, pero a veces pienso que las dulces son una excusa por visitarme, porque cuándo ella entra a mi casa, no quiere salir por horas. Le gusta hablar mal de todos en el barrio y me quedo callada porque no tengo confianza en ella. Es capaz de decir a todos que yo soy la chismosa!
Traisy (I can’t resist), don’t tell me you don’t like the chismes tampoco!? That’s the thing about la vecinas chismosas, they know how to draw us in and keep us listening with their veneno. As long as it’s all in good fun what is the harm I say 🙂
The chismes from my street aren’t even interesting! For some reason most of my closest neighbors are retired Anglo folk who only take the car to church on Sunday!
The chisme is like “Eleanor had to have back surgery and while she was at the hospital, her husband took the opportunity to eat that candy he’s not supposed to have on account of his diabetes.”
Maybe if I lived a few streets down I’d get something juicier…LOL 😉
jajaja!! And compared to the drama of your telenovela they probably seem extra BLAH…but at least you don’t have to worry about learning things you really don’t want to know about the people that live around you. I for one prefer the big old juicy fare in chismes 🙂
juan great to see you here…and can see why aadam liked this…great share…pete