Hablando de lo que pica el gallo…formando un arroz con mango.
En esta locura de mi casa, it’s hard to get much work or studying done. If you think your Cuban house is loud, pay me a visit someday, you’ll see where I’m coming from. Granted, it’s no calle ocho Caretta. After all, the majority of us residing in it are first generation Americans, but the eccentricity (and loudness, if that’s even a word) of our Cuban heritage does not go unnoticed.
I’m sure some of you can relate to the following:
There’s something frying over the stove top and the stench of it will linger on in the threads of my clothes until their next wash. Papi is speaking loudly over the phone. A call to Cuba and although he knows the lines work properly (they’re from his company and they’ve been tested often) he still finds the need to raise his voice a few notches past his normal, already loud volume. I think knowing the distance apart from the person on the other side of the receiver has something to do with the volume in which we speak, although distance is nearly irrelevant over the phone.
In the kitchen, Mom is simultaneously cooking 3 different meals because the youngest of my siblings is un poco malcriado and a picky eater, my father is tired of eating pechuga de pollo as we have been laying off la grasa for sometime now and the rest of us are trying to shed the inevitable pounds we gained over the years from simply being Cuban. Somewhere between preparing the rice cooker, friendo los platanitos and seasoning the chicken, she grabs el palo de trapear y le da un pason a la cocina while she yells “No entran en la cocina! Esta mojado el piso.” The Mistolin is unsuccessful at hiding the stench of el bistec that’s sitting over the stove. Of course, the minute she puts the mop down one of her children walks into the kitchen, usually accompanied by one of the many friends from la pandilla, leaving dirty shoe prints in front of the fridge and later, a collection of dirty dishes in the sink. This sends my mom on another yelling spree, ending in “Haga me el favor, sal de la cocina cacho de cabron!”
In one of the bedrooms, the boys are sprawled out over the bed with XBox (sometimes Wii) controllers in their hands, arguing over which of them is better and why. It seems that with them, everything is a competition and there is always something to prove. From the computer speakers, hip hop music spills into whatever free space of sound may have remained. One of the friends at the computer switches between songs while they discuss who of these music artist is a better rapper, stirring another argument over 7 or 8 young men. Dad, who got off the phone with Cuba moments earlier is now on the line with a potential client and is enraged by the noise coming from down the hall. He puts the phone on hold and from the dining room yells out to the boys in the room, all the while my mother yelling at him, telling him the boys obviously can’t hear him.
7 cats roam around the house, encaramandose en lo que no deben, zipping by our grumpy chihuahua and waking him as they do so. He growls and barks proving that even the tiniest of us living in the house can be loud too. Someone yells at the cats, people walk in and out of the house as they wish (sometimes my house resembles La Carreta more than I care to acknowledge) and the door stays unlocked until the late hours of the night, the early hours of the morning.
So how do I get any studying done at home? I don’t. How does anyone go to sleep early enough to get some rest for work the next morning? They don’t. But in cases when embracing the loud chatter of my household or blocking out the noise of all the extra people in my house doesn’t work, I turn to the simple solution of kicking half the noise out.
“Calabaza, calabaza. Cada uno pa’ su casa.”
Who knew pumpkins could be so helpful?