Monday, April 22, 2013

I Can't Figure Out Why I Am So Darn Likeable.

I know that title seems a little bit conceited. Maybe likeable is not the right word. Something happened yesterday that made me think of how comfortable people tend to get around me. Especially Hispanic people. They tend to act very familiar too soon. I have a few examples just so you don't think I am rambling for no reason.

Unless you are Mexican, or of Hispanic descent, you probably are not familiar with Spanish grammatical rules. Let me give you a small lesson (I promise it will be quick and that it is relevant to this post). In English, to modify a noun you have to use an adjective. If you want to comment on the size of a tree, you add a descriptive word (adjective) before the noun and say that it is a big tree or a small tree. Now, in Spanish, you can also use adjectives (descriptive words (sorry to repeat myself so much but I don't want to lose anybody)) but you would add the adjective after the noun. Thus, you would say that a tree is an arbol (tree) grande (big) or an arbol (tree) chico (small). However, Spanish also has modifiers in the form of suffixes (endings added to a word to modify it) to indicate if something is big or small. There are suffixes in English as well (such as the ending -er to indicate a greater measure such as tall and taller (tall-er)) but that is a lesson for another time. The suffixes for size in Spanish are -ito for small, called a diminutive, and -ote for big, called an augmentative. Thus, arbolito (arbol-ito) means small tree and arbolote (arbol-ote) means big tree. Now that we are done with the grammar lesson part of this post, let's move onto the cultural semantics part of the lesson. If you were to use the diminutive in someone's name, it would be normal to think that you are belittling them of being condescending. However, that is not the case. If you know someone called Tomas and you call him Tomasito, it is usually accepted as a term of endearment. Now, keep in mind that you are still calling him little Tomas, but that it is not usually an insult.

I hope I did not confuse too many people with the last paragraph. The reason why I wrote it is just to explain that people, Hispanic people, have a tendency to call me Carlitos (the diminutive form of Carlos) a lot. I guess I could just have explained at this point that Carlitos literally means "little Carlos" but that it is used as an endearing term and is not meant to belittle. Now that I think about it, I didn't need that whole previous paragraph but I already wrote it and I guess you already read it so I will just leave it. After all, I did not spend, insert amount of time it took me to write that paragraph here, writing something for it to not be read. Although, in all likelihood and from my lack of readers, it may go unread anyway. At least it will be posted, though. That's what counts. However, I digress. Back to the main point of this very convoluted paragraph. People have a tendency to call me Carlitos. Now, I know they mean nothing by it and that it literally has nothing to do with size, but it kinda bothers me. I know I should be happy that people find me endearing enough and feel comfortable enough around me to call me Carlitos but I can't help but find it unnerving. There are a few reasons for that. One being that I am a big guy. I mean that in the sense that I am overweight, thus calling me the equivalent of Little Carlos seems like a cruel joke, but I am also, for a Mexican, tall. Thus, it is very weird to me to have people that are either younger, thinner, or shorter (and in some cases, all three) calling me Carlitos. Also, calling people by the diminutive of their names is usual... for children. For example, my cousin Beto was called Betito. Cesar was called Cesarito. It also works for women. Rosa was Rosita and Lupe was Lupita. I think that is enough examples because if you haven't got it by now, you really won't get it and I should give you props for even knowing how to read. I bring this up because, even though most everyone was called something with an -ito or -ita at the end of their name while young, the key words in that sentence are "while young." Most people outgrow the cute-ning of their names. Especially guys. And, although I would like to believe that the reason people still feel compelled and comfortable calling me Carlitos is because of my child-like wonder and youthful appearance, I don't know if that is the case. I had a hypothesis at one point that the name Carlos simply lent itself to being morphed into Carlitos. However, of the three cousins that I have that share that name with me (it's a very popular name and I have a lot of cousins so it's not that weird), I am the only one who is usually called Carlitos. I have thus come to conclude that people must like me and feel comfortable enough with me to put me through the ordeal of having to endure them calling me Carlitos, even if I ask them, repeatedly, not to.

You may think, like any rational human being, that the reason I wrote this post was that someone else had called me Carlitos and that I had finally snapped. (Oh my non-deity, I have now written the word Carlitos so much it has lost all meaning to me. Kind of like when you say the word banana (or any other word) too many times in your head and it loses its meaning.) However, that is not the case. If I were a good writer, this post would be organized in a more coherent manner and all superfluous material, i.e. the whole paragraph on Spanish grammar, would be cut out. Unluckily for you, I am not a good writer. The event that led to me writing this post was that someone called me m'ijo yesterday. There are two different statements in the last sentence that need to be delved into and I shall address each in its own paragraph.

First, what does m'ijo mean? Well, it is literally Spanish for "my son." It is a shortened form of the phrase "mi hijo" and, even though contractions are not a formal part of Spanish grammar, it is often vocalized in the vernacular even if not in written form. It is another term of endearment usually reserved for someone younger than you for whom you hold a deep appreciation. For example, I use m'ijo to address my nephews. They are not literally my sons, as they are my nephews, and it would be a deeply disturbing world where your nephews are also your sons. However, I love my nephews so I feel comfortable addressing them as such. It's not unusual. Most of my aunts and uncles, and believe me there are plenty of those, have at one point or another called me m'ijo. Even my boss at work calls me that which, although I have been made fun of for it, just shows me that she appreciates me.

Second, who called me m'ijo yesterday? Well, remember that I mentioned that my parents had left for Mexico and that I had moved into their place to keep up with payments and such? In order to help myself with that burden, I decided to get a roommate. I had it all planned and when my parents moved I had a friend lined up to move in within the week. However, that plan fell through as most plans often do. I was facing having to shoulder all the responsibility on my own when an old man from my parents' church found himself in need of a place to stay. Let's just say that it wasn't my ideal choice but I was desperate because I like having extra money for important stuff like liquor and such. As I mentioned, he is an older gentleman. Scratch that. He is an old man. Yeah, that sounds better. He goes to dialysis three times a week and is a very boring conversationalist. I had already told myself that he was going to be a roommate and nothing more. I try not to engage him in conversation as he is often prejudiced, chauvinistic, and tries to be religious (at which he fails miserably). He tells the same stories over and over and not in an engaging manner. It seems more like he is talking at you than to you. I often avoid talking to him by staying mostly in my room but if he hears me in the kitchen he will come out and start yammering on about something or other forcing me to turn off my Will & Grace DVD (which is what I prefer to watch as I wash dishes). Well, last night, as he was telling me how excited he was that he had found the keys he had somehow misplaced in the inside of his jeans (don't ask me how), he called me m'ijo.

I was shocked. I am hoping I hid it well. I mean he can't see that well to begin with (which he explained to me when he told me why he never drives at night). I don't want him to be so familiar with me. I had hoped that it was clear that we were not friends but roommates. I had already made the mistake of being roommates with a close friend once and that was a fiasco. I mean, I am as close to the Old Man (which shall be his nickname from now on) as I care to be. I have seen him unbutton his pants twice, and both times he did it specifically to show me something. The first time it was to show me how loose his pants were after dialysis. The second one was yesterday as he demonstrated how he had managed to misplace his keys inside his pants. Now, let's be clear on this, I have dated older men before but I have never dated someone that old. I mean, there is older, and then there is ancient. I have never been as terrified of a man unbuttoning his pants as I was those two times he did it. I feel that we are closer than we ever needed to be as it is and then he goes and calls me m'ijo. I am not his son and I really don't want him to become attached or feel that he is close to me in any way or form. I don't know how to dissuade him though and that is scary. What if he starts thinking we are friends? And if being roommates means he unbuttons his pants in front of me, what will friendship entail? The thought of it makes me shiver. No, really. I am shivering as I write this. I also get scared because I start thinking that I might end up like that and that really terrifies me. Luckily, I really hope euthanasia becomes legal by the time I am that age. I hope that is not a horrible thing to say. I don't care enough about it being horrible to not say it though.

I guess I really should not post this but I already wrote it and I will feel like I wasted my time if I don't. I really don't know why people think I am approachable or that I enjoy being treated in a familiar manner. It may have something to do with the fact that I do not share what I really think all the time. I bet if people really knew the way my brain works, they would not be as willing to familiarize my name. That will never happen though. I am a hypocrite at heart and rarely do I tell people my true misanthropic thoughts as I feel that would alienate them in a bad way. I guess being liked will be the cross I will have to bear. And it is a heavy cross, my friends. Believe me, it is a very heavy cross.

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So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.