The party was beautiful. All the little girls were in frilly little dresses with ruffled little white socks and white dress shoes. The food was delicious and the cake was lovely. It was everything that a 2 year old’s birthday party should be… apart from “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rhiana blasting from the speakers. If you are unfamiliar with this song, do a YouTube search, otherwise here are some select lyrics for you:
“If she ever tries to f***in’ leave again,
Imma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”
The kids and moms were all running around, playing games, enjoying themselves, while I sat by the wall, glancing around nervously, and wringing my hands. It was as though some profane pop-up that I couldn’t get rid off had jumped onto my laptop screen while I was sitting in a public place. Oh god, oh god, go away, stop! Is anyone else noticing this? I didn’t do it, it’s not mine! Please, no one else notice this!
So why is a graphic song about a guy who beats the crap out of his girlfriend playing at a 2 year old girl’s birthday party in the first place? Not many people speak English in this part of Ecuador, so they are just listening to the catchy loop and picking out a few words. It probably sounds like:
Blah blah blah blah there and blah me cry,
Blah blah blah blah because I love the blah you blah
Nothing wrong with that! Perfect for the natal festivities of any little tot! The real issue is that American chica that the birthday girl’s uncle brought along, needs to suck it up and worry about something else. She is clearly the only one who gives a blah and it’s not her blahing party, is it?
A little while ago I was on my way home from my monthly supply run to La Libertad. The usual. Grocery bags using up my foot space and quietly melting. A book that I’ve already read 100 times sitting in my lap putting me to sleep. I doze until my dangling head smacks against the window and jolts me awake along with a fun new crick in my neck. Where are we? Did I miss my stop again? A woman gets on the bus and sits next to me with her 8(?) year old granddaughter in her lap. I glance over, smile and nod a hello. Awww what a cute family. And then I notice the shirt the little girl is wearing. Painted across the front is a chaos of randomly placed Barbie looking figures, stars, and over-excited exclamations that seems out of sync with the actual meaning of the words: “Girl!” “Fashion!” “Sparkle!” And right in the middle, was this statement:
Your Boyfriend Think I’m Hot!
And no, that is not a typo on my part. Apparently, he think I’m hot. He know I no talk good neither, but don’t matter, you reads it and weeps.
If this was some angsty teenager who was starting to come into their own sexuality in ways they didn’t quite know how to deal with other than acting out semi-inappropriately in a manner that would embarrass their future self but provide fun self-deprecating comedic opportunities for future conversations… well, than I would completely understand. We’ve all been there. But she’s, like, 8 years old! Some jerk, probably with a sweat shop somewhere in Asia, designed this horrible shirt, didn’t take the time to check the graphic for typos, printed it on the ugliest neon blue fabric he could find, made it into tiny little girl sizes, shipped them to South America, where this kind looking old lady bought it for her adorable granddaughter because it says Blah blah blah blah blah blah and has pictures of pretty girls on it, just like her pretty little darling. Those goddamn t-shirt sweatshop owning motherblahers!
I won’t tell you how long I spent quietly fuming to myself, but it was longer than it should have been. I did eventually realize that I was the only one on the bus who could notice any of this, and therefore the mysterious author of t-shirt slogans has not really victimized anyone. Still, if I walk past a pile of these t-shirts at the market in Libertad, I have the feeling that I may be overwhelmed by the heat and a coffee spilling accident may be inevitable.
It was a month or so before the wedding of a couple good friends when Flaco came over to the house to ask for some help. He was going to play the guitar and sing at the wedding, and since the groom and his family were Canadian, he wanted to do at least one song in English. He wanted me to listen to him and help him with the English pronunciation. He strummed the intro chords of the song that he’d been practicing. Wait, I think to myself. Is this the song I think it is?
What it sounds like to him:
Blah blah blah blah blah blah,
Blah blah blah you in the eye
You’re blah like an angel
Your blah makes me blah
You blah like a blah blah
In a beautiful world
I blah I was special
You’re so blahing special
Blah I’m a blah
I’m a blah
What the blah am I blahing blah?
I don’t blah blah blah
What it sounds like to me:
When you were here before
Couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You’re so f***ing special
But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
Ummm… thank you Flaco. That was a lovely performance, but no. Creep by Radiohead will not be the best song to play at your sister-in-laws wedding if you are trying to give the warm-and-fuzzies to the husband’s family. I know the singer is talking about how much he loves the girl, but just let me explain the word “creep” to you.
It was the weekend and I was having fun pointing out all these amusing “Lost in Translation” moments to my chico and our friends. We were sitting at our favorite spot on Cocktail Alley. I was feeling a little loose and enjoying myself and my own clearly hilarious and insightful observations. “And then…hahaha…the kids were all playing…hahaha…and no one knew what the song really meant…hahaha!” My friends were chuckling good-naturedly.
A loud pounding reggaeton song came onto a nearby sound system, and a group of European girls at the neighboring coctelería stood up and started to dance. All the Ecuadorians I was sitting with started cracking up.
“What’s going on? What’s so funny?”
“We’re talking about people not understanding what they are listening to, right?” They nodded towards the dancing extranjeras. “You see. It goes both ways.”
For the first time since I’d heard the song, I stopped to actually focus on the lyrics. Toby King was singing in great detail about a girl named Pamela who apparently has a “voracious appetite”. And since I refuse to post pornography on this site, you can just go google the lyrics yourself if you’re curious. I gasped and start blushing. Jesus! I’ve danced to this song before! I think to myself. This is trickery! This shouldn’t be legal! My chico sees my face and start laughing again.
“Ya pues Abril! No te acerques a la candela si tienes rabo de paja.”
Touché chicos. Touché.