Back in my misty, water-colored high school years in the early-mid 1990s, I took a lot of Spanish. Like, a LOT. The equivalent of six years’ worth, to be exact. My high school was extremely math-and-science heavy, which did not line up too well with my arts-and-language-y brain, so I tended to gravitate more towards the subjects in which I didn’t – how you say? – suck a big donkey dick.
I had all the sub-par math skills of Barbie, with none of the boobs. Great.
Fun fact! I had two – TWO! – tutors who attempted to guide me through a semester-long trigonometry course, and I only barely managed to make a D. A stinkin’ D! Granted, a D meant I passed, but for a nerd like me? For shaaaaaaaaaame.
D: The Jim Belushi of passing grades.
So, I totally blew at any kind of math beyond algebra. When it came to science, I fared a little better. I was good at biology (mostly because it involved memorization), and I kicked some serious ass at anatomy (because it was visual AND involved memorization AND we got to dissect a fetal pig, and I’m sorry, but that little fucker was really cute. Until we had to bisect his brain.). But when it came to chemistry, I sucked once again because it was a little too close to numbers and math for my brain to handle. In fact, I still feel guilty for my poor, burdened lab parter Justin, who had to watch me flip out on a daily basis in that class because I simply DID NOT GET IT. Incidentally, Justin is a big fancy news anchor now. How cool is that?
“Up next at 5: My high school lab partner was a total fucking idiot.”
So I obviously focused my energy into the classes that came easier to me, like art, English, and my beloved Spanish. I really regret that I didn’t continue to take Spanish throughout college, because by now I could probably remember more than how to say “I need toilet paper!”
Necesito el papel higiénico!
But it is amazing how much of it has stuck with me, even after nearly 15 years. What especially sticks in my mind are the words/verbs/phrases that were my favorites, like old papel higiénico, or lechuga (lettuce), or my favorite verb of all time: quejarse – to complain.
It’s not so much that I like complaining (although I absolutely do), it’s more the memories surrounding that word that endear it to me. My friend Lucia (I’m using her Spanish-class name to protect her identidad) – who ended up studying in Spain for a year, if you replace “studying” with “drinking” – used to be my main sounding board in my later years of high school, and she understood the power of a good quejarse session. It wasn’t so much about complaining as it was about having someone else listen to the shitty little things that piss you off throughout the day and justify that YES! THAT TOTALLY SUCKS! and to never, ever utter such phrases as “Look on the bright side…” or the detestable “You should be thankful it wasn’t X.”
Basically, quejarse was meant as an outlet for the small stuff. It wasn’t for legitimate problems like sick relatives or divorcing parents or anything of that ilk – it was for craving a goddamn rice krispie treat all day long only to get to the vending machine to discover they raised the price to 80 cents, and you only have three quarters to your name.
Although considering how good those motherfuckers are, this may need to be moved to the “legitimately serious” file.
Lucia and I aren’t as close now as we were in high school, but I still heartily embrace the power of quejarse. Sometimes you KNOW your complaints are petty and superficial, but you just have to get them OUT, right? So that’s the point of this post today: LET’S ALL BITCH ABOUT ANNOYING SHIT AND THEN FEEL BETTER AND MAYBE GET A RICE KRISPIE TREAT IF WE HAVE EXACT CHANGE AND THE SITUATION PRESENTS ITSELF (AND I RECOMMEND YOU DO ALL YOU CAN TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.)
I’ll go first:
- People who do not read or respond to their work email, rendering their email accounts basically useless and forcing everyone around them to have to physically track them down and ask them everything in person.
- People who swing their cars WAY OUT before turning (i.e., swinging the car to the right before turning left, in the style of a fucking Mack truck driver, AS IF their damn Prius needs that wide of a berth to turn onto a fucking city street).
- Indigestion. My digestive system has one job: TO DIGEST. Just do it already! Jesus!
- Wal-Mart, and pretty much everything and everyone therein, and the fact that I KEEP FINDING MYSELF THERE despite my best efforts to avoid the place.
OK, your turn. Use the comments, have at it! Nothing is too small or too petty! Just this morning I found myself complaining about someone because they were complaining. And then the universe turned in on itself and imploded like a dying star.
Millions of rice krispie treats tragically lost their lives.
[Post-script! I just wanted to give a big hello to all you wonderful lurkers coming out of the woodwork – and also to the daughter of 4th reader! Sham-Wow! We have, like, generations, here at Jive Turkey. Pretty cool, considering my own mother would not stop clutching her chest and gasping for air if she were ever to find this site!]
Entry filed under: Taste my Backhand.