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Caló: He's just madreando?

The word of the day is madrear. It’s a verb meaning to mother. In Caló it means to give oneself great latitude in behavior and/or responsibility, as a mother would an infant who doesn’t know any better. It’s also often used to flag a slacker who’s not doing his part: “all he’s doing is madreando, not really working.”

By Oscar "El Marfa" Rodriguez

El Low Rider was fed up with the so-called help he was getting. He had picked up Flaco and his younger brother, Boy, to go cruising and get some borgas at Whataburger that Sunday. But they needed to help him wash and polish his ’69 Ford Falcon so they could go do la vuelta, a cruise circuit, and roll into Whataburger in proper fashion. But the boys weren’t connecting the dots. They weren’t working hard enough for the privilege. 

“Hey, vatos, we got to scrub everything. Get all the mud and dead bugs off the body and wheels, then put the polish and make it all shine. Watchas?” El Low Rider told his two young cousins.

“Pos, I already washed the rims. You gonna put polish on them now?” asked Flaco.

“All you did was put water on them. You didn’t scrub. You put polish now, and it’ll just turn into a grey paste, ese,” said El Low Rider.

“Oh,” said Flaco.

“And you, ese, you’re not doing anything. Just madreando putting water everywhere. Watchale!” El Low Rider scolded Boy.

“Pos, they look pretty clean to me,” said Flaco.

“What? I can still see the tar on the mags and scuff marks on the white walls. Chale, ese,” El Low Rider said to Flaco.

Meanwhile Boy had gone into a daydream about making eye contact with that girl he was hoping to see on the vuelta. And she smiled at him, which made him drop his hand and let go of the water hose he was holding. Seconds later El Low Rider noticed a puddle forming under the car and looked up.

“Hey, hey, watchale, vato! You’re getting us all wet! What are you doing, ese?” he screamed at Boy.

Boy quickly rousted from his daydream and picked up the water hose and got back on the job of scrubbing the old Falcon with the soapy rag El Low Rider had given him.

“How about now, ese. They seem pretty clean to me,” said Flaco.

El Low Rider took off his sunglasses and bent over to inspect.

“Pos, they’re a little better. But see there? Tar and scuff marks on the white walls. You have to scrub hard until the mags are like mirrors and the white walls are baby white and supple to the touch,” he told Flaco.

“Órale, I’ll try harder,” said Flaco.

“Órale. And your brother? Look, he’s just madreando with the water,” said El Low Rider loud enough for Boy to hear.

Boy didn’t hear. He was daydreaming again.

“Hey! You’re not washing. You’re just madereando. Better just stand over there and wait until we start drying the car with the towels,” said El Low Rider.

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