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He got bailado


Órale, the featured word of this episode is bailar. In proper Spanish it means to dance. In Caló, however, it speaks to the drama generated by and that characterizes close human interaction, not always related to actual dancing.

“Never butt into gown-up talk,” Boy’s father, Ornado, said half-seriously in Boy’s direction at the dinner table on Sunday night.

“I didn’t do that,” said Flaco, who was sitting next to Boy.

“This one here did last night,” Ornado said, pointing at Boy with his chin.

“Pos, I didn’t know what they were talking about. Marcha? What’s that?” Boy asked.

“I guess you’ve never seen one. Probably cuz you fell asleep every time we took you to a dance with us,” Ornado said.

“So?” asked Boy.

“So. It happens after the first tanda, the first set. A select couple get on the dance floor and lead everybody march. It lasts about as long as a tanda,” answered Ornado.

“They march like soldiers?” asked Boy.

“More or less, but they slide their feet instead of picking them up,” explained Ornado.

Boy looked incredulous.

“And the band plays? And the people do that instead of dancing?” Boy interrogated.

Ornado nodded, indicating that was the end of the story.

You ever see it?” Boy asked Flaco.

“At that wedding we went to in OJ where uncle Tavo got bailado by the waiter for the change,” said Flaco.

“Yeah, he was bailado for the change to a hundred-dollar bill,” Boy laughed.

“Pos, Tavo didn’t think it was funny. The waiter probably said to himself, ‘I can go home now that they paid me.’ Tavo was trying to bailar everybody at the table with that big bill, but got bailado himself,” said Ornado.

“So they just march around?” Boy asked Flaco.

“Pos in that dance they marched in two separate lines, men and women, and made two big circles. It went on and on a long time,” said Flaco.

Ornado eyed him silently.

“Then the music stopped. Everybody stoped and sat down. That’s all,” said Flaco.

“No, like everything else in life. No music, no fiesta. If the band stops playing, no baile and no marcha,” said Ornado.

“They just march, huh? I’d like to see that,” said Boy.

“You’re too still too young. You’ll probably get bailado by sleep before the marcha begins,” said Ornado.

“Bailado by sleep,” said Flaco, laughing.

“I’ll bailar you if you don’t quit,” Boy told Flaco angrily.

“Hey, no fighting at the table or I’ll bailar both of you,” warned Ornado.

“Orale,” said the boys said together.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.