Queso

The fist call was like the first email: short and sweet.

I answered the phone as I was on my way out of the parent’s house. I usually don’t go on Wednesday evenings, because I’d be sitting in traffic longer than I’d actually be at home. However, Adrian and Lori were holding their last BBQ Wednesday night dinner and I couldn’t miss out.

We didn’t talk too much. I’d hung up before even getting to the 10/60 interchange (about 15 minutes away). He had to prepare things for work the next day. “I’ll call you before I return to LA on Friday,” he said as we said our goodbyes.

***

On Thursday evening, I went to a cheese party hosted by some friends from my program. Everyone took some fancy, stinky cheese. I picked up some queso fresco at La Superior while I was at home the night before. I also packed along some aguacate and tortillas because queso fresco doesn’t go well with crackers.

Sometime during the party, I heard my phone ring. It was him. Eek!

I slipped out to the small garden/courtyard at my friend’s apartment complex so I could have some privacy and quiet.

This time, the call wasn’t short. If he didn’t have to go to work the next day and my cell phone battery was not dying, I could have talked to him for hours. We made plans to go to a comedy show with the mutual contact, the Saturday night party hostess and several of her friends on Sunday night.

By the time I hung up with him, the party had died down and the last guests were leaving. I grabbed what was left of my cheese and tortillas, said goodbye to the hostess, and walked with N to his truck.

As we walked to the truck, I heard a beep in my bag. I had a text message.

Talking to u was the perfect end to my day

I swooned. Seriously. If Yeah-Yeah was around, he’d be calling me out like he called out Squints, “Yeah, yeah! You was swooning!”

I showed N the message. Although he’s prone to crass jokes and “that’s what she said” comments, even he couldn’t suppress an “aww.”

“What should I say? Something funny?” I asked.

“No, keep it sweet,” he suggested.

“Okay,” I said as I switched the predictive text from English to Spanish and typed out my one word response.

Igualmente.

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Monday night emails

My sister’s advice was great, but it was tough to follow. If you asked a few of my close friends who spoke to me on Sunday or Monday, they’d tell you that I wouldn’t shut up about my Saturday night encounter. I wanted to know what it meant, what I should do and why he just didn’t ask for my number. To shut me up, one of my friends invited me watch Superbad.

When I got home, I did what I usually do before going to bed. I turned on my laptop and checked my email. It all looked like spam. I was about to delete a message from a sender with a funny looking name, when I realized that the oddly placed X was really an ñ and the subject line looked familiar.

From: ojitos
To: cindylu
Subject: [cute subject line, inside joke from Saturday night]

Hi Cindy,

[Short and sweet email in which he explained how he got my email (the mutual contact), that he had a great time on Saturday because I was there, cracked up reading the magazines, and that he'd like to call me sometime.]

Take care,
[ojitos
phone number]

Eek!

I fired off my own email a few minutes later to Chispa. The subject line read, “you don’t know how happy I am right now.”

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Smarties and suckers

As soon as I left the party, I tried to figure out what had just happened. I was so distracted, I got lost on my way back to the freeway.

I kept replaying the night. First the pick-up line which wasn’t really a pick-up line. Then dancing and random compliments. Then more dancing. Then singing along to Los Prisioneros’ “Tren Al Sur” and really meaning “no ves que estoy contento, no ves que estoy feliz?” And finally the anti-climactic goodbye at my car. A hug and a nice to meet you. But no phone numbers.

On the twenty minute drive from Pico Rivera back to Palms I wondered if I had misread the cues. If everything felt so right, then why didn’t he ask for my number? And why was I such a weenie that I didn’t just give it to him?

As I re-counted the chisme to my sister the next morning over menudo (sans tripe, ugh), I explained that all hope was not lost.

“I think I’m going to see him next week at a Los Lobos concert,” I told her. “He also has a copy of Puro Pedo. My name is in that. If he even knows how to use Google he can find me… but that might be weird. There’s always the hostess and M, the mutual contact. He can ask them for my contact info… but would that be stalkerish?”

“Don’t sweat it,” she said. “Whatever happens, happens.”

I took her advice.

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Hay unos ojos

I never figured out if his eyes were green or hazel. In the dim light of a bar, they were hazel. On a balmy Sunday afternoon, they were green. I asked him once, and even he didn’t have a definitive answer.

As lovely as they were, his eyes hardly stand out in my memory. When I envision him, I think of his smile, brown skin, curly hair, and how cute we looked together (his words, not mine).

I met him at a friend’s party. I showed up alone expecting other friends to later arrive, but they never showed. A few hours in to the party, he arrived with a mini-entourage. He interrupted as I talked to a mutual friend.

“You look familiar, do I know you?” he asked.

I didn’t know him. I’d never seen him around campus — which we later figured out was why he found me familiar.

There was talking and dancing and more talking and more dancing. He was good at both, but it was hot and we had to take a break for drinks. We went in to the house and relaxed on the couch. In the middle of a discussion on turtles, I noticed his eyes for the first time. I paused for a second and lost my train of thought. I wanted to stay something, but held back for fear that I’d sound like the white woman in those old Máquina de Lenguaje commercials.

Soon there were few people left at the party except for me, the hostess, my new friend and his entourage. It was time to go. He walked me to my car. We hugged and said goodbye.

And that was it.

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Wanted: Concert Buddy

The only thing I currently miss about being in a relationship is the automatic date for concerts. I have a tough time finding a guy with similar music taste. When I’m dating someone, this isn’t a problem because he’s down for anything from Rilo Kiley to Girl In A Coma.

I haven’t been to a concert since November because (a) my friends don’t usually like a lot of the bands I like or they can’t go out on weeknights or (b) I just don’t feel like going alone. I’ve already missed a few shows I’ve wanted to attend for this reason. I don’t want to miss out on more great shows, especially as the summer months approach. Thus, I’m starting a search for a concert buddy.

Job description


Job Title: Concert Buddy

Job Summary: Concert buddy for a 27-year old Chicana. Typical evening on the job would include carpooling to the concert venue. Small talk while waiting for band(s) to perform. Dancing and enjoying music. Dinner before event is not required, but tacos or other late night snacks are standard form.

Qualifications: Somewhat similar music taste (please refer to last.fm list of most listened to artists), speaks and understands Spanish (pochos welcomed), dances well, excellent parallel parker, willing to be the designated driver if necessary, and familiarity with Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Must own reliable automobile.

Experience: At least 5 years concert-going experience at small venues (e.g., the Temple Bar), large venues (e.g., Hollywood Bowl), and festivals (e.g., Coachella).

Location: Los Angeles and surrounding cities

Hours: 3-5 hours per week, weeknights and weekends.

Compensation: This is a volunteer position

Please send mixtape (acceptable in CD or MP3 format), list of concerts recently attended, and references to Cindylu .

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