About Bank: “Hace frio afuera pero adentro…”

31 Oct

Translation: It’s cold outside but in here…

This is the story of the only proposal I have received thus far and, yes, I do mean “marriage proposal.

His name is Carlos Soledad** and he is Puerto Rican, doesn’t speak any English, is a little on the short side, and…what else? What else could I possibly say about him…? Hmmm… Oh. Right. He’s 70 years old. Maybe 75. Ok, he is  at least 75 and maybe older. In other words the only way I could possibly see his proposal as being a genuine one is if I saw his bank account and, oh wait, I have…I’ll stick to maidenhood for now. Though maybe I’ll also stick to not using the word maidenhood regularly as I’m fairly certain I’m misusing it.

A few weeks ago “my” Carlos came into the bank. I think he might be experiencing the early stages of dementia as he always seems to be a little foggy. As one of the few people who spent their youth, we’re talking ages 12-15, working in a nursing home and serving meals to dementia patients I feel comfortable with that diagnosis. It also always takes him a little while to get talking so there is an adjustment period of an eternity 3-5 minutes where he stands out my counter in silence looking at me blankly which I deal with the only way I know how, in uncomfortable silence (stay tuned for my self-help book, How to Make the Most Joyous of Occasions Awkward with a Lack of Tact and an Abundance of Saturday Night Live References, or the abreviated HMMJOALTASNLR if that’s easier).

After he was up to speed on the whole being in a bank thing I asked him how he was…here is a translation…and keep in mind that I really am speaking the Spanish of a 5-year-old, not because I am treating Carlos like a child but because that is actually how un-fluent I am…

Tootsie: Hi!

Carlos: Hello…how are you?

Tootsie: I’m good, how are you?

Carlos: Bad.

Tootsie: Bad? Why?

Carlos: Because I don’t have a woman.

Tootsie: Oh…I’m sorry…?

Carlos: Are you married?

Tootsie: …Um…no…

Carlos: Will you marry me?

Tootsie: Sorry, I don’t think I can…

Carlos: Why not?

Thus began a sad little game of “Why can’t you marry me?” And “I just can’t,” of course ignoring the fact that this was a poor little old man who had either watched way too many Hugh Hefner documentaries or was totally unaware of the fact that he wasn’t an eligible 20-year-old anymore. I eventually had to send him on his way, unsatisfied, and bride-less.

Today Carlos returned. He approached my window slowly, finally arriving and taking the customary 3-5 minutes to realize that he was, once again, in a bank. I had more trouble than usual understanding him today because he was not so much chewing a piece of gum as he was letting it hang limply out of his mouth.

Tootsie: Hello, how are you doing today?

Carlos: It is cold outside but in here it’s hot.

Now, this is a moment where a better understanding of Spanish would have been helpful. Was he genuinely referring to the nice heating that the bank offered or was he a cute little old man who was trying to flirt?

I asked him to repeat what he said because I thought I might have not heard him properaly and he said it again, but this time let me say it in Spanish (I wish I knew how to do accents on this!)…

Carlos: Hace frio afuera pero adentro esta calientita.

The word for hot is caliente, as most know, but he was doing the cutesy “calientita.” Oh Carlos. Cutesy has an age-requirement. The cut-off is a little fuzzy and varies greatly from person to person, though it usually falls somewhere between the first time you find yourself covered in your own child’s poop and the first time the concept of adult diapers sounds like maybe, a tiny bit, sorta, kinda like a good idea…maybe…Carlos was way beyond either option.

He than asked how much was in his account.

Tootsie: Ten.

Carlos: What?

Tootsie: Ten.

Carlos: How’s that?

Tootsie: Ten.

Carlos: Huh?

Tootsie: Ten! You have ten dollars! There is ten and some change in your acount!

Carlos: Ten.

Tootsie: Right.

And that is the man I almost married. Whether I like it or not, my first proposal will always be with Carlito in an inner-city bank, with a man who probably forgets me every time he leaves the door to purchase more gum he is not going to chew fully. He certainly set the bar high. In all honesty it was pretty adorable…maybe I should’ve said yes…after-all, this–

used to be this–

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