© 2024 Marfa Public Radio
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Lobby Hours: Monday - Friday 10 AM to Noon & 1 PM to 4 PM
For general inquiries: (432) 729-4578
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chipi chipi


Órale, the word for this episode is chiple. It means someone who is spoiled or excessively coddled or pampered. Caló speakers sometimes abbreviated it, chipi. Although it’s usually used to refer to children—or people acting like children, proper adults can also be chiple, as in the vato is all chiple because he believes everybody thinks he’s a mazote or the vato got all chipi when everybody started deferring to him at the big meeting. There’s also a romantic side to this word. If you’re the one chipleando somebody, then the object of your coddling is your chiple, you know, the person you want to keep happy and thinking only good thoughts about you. But it isn’t a substitute for your lollipop. A chiple is that person you want to be your lollipop, that is, during the prospective stage in the relationship. Unless you’re talking about a child, you want to chiplear somebody so they become your vato or ruca. Simón, it’s a little complicated, but a good analogy is that of a caterpillar. The flowers chiplean the worm, hoping it grows up and becomes a butterfly and eats their nectar and spreads their pollen. Watchas?

The vato had asked her to dance years ago in a wedding in OJ, and she turned him down. Órale. He knew her name, and he assumed she knew his, but he kept his distance since then. A friend of his took her out on a few dates, but nothing came of it, he said. And he saw her doing the vuelta every now and then, which he took note of only because she had turned him down that night in OJ.

She picked up a boyfriend when he went away to college. When he came back for the summer each year, they ran into each other here and there, nodding politely. Es todo. They never talked.

Then one Sunday afternoon years later when he moved back into the state, he saw her while he was sitting at a street-side patio cantina watching people go by on the street. Seeing her in this different setting—away from home—jarred him out of a daydream he had been enjoying. He instinctively nodded, but she didn’t respond, just looked at him directly without an expression a long 4-5 seconds and walked on, turning back only slightly before she disappeared into the crowd.

The vato hoped she would do the vuelta, but she didn’t.

He came back the next Sunday, and she walked by again. Again, no nod, but this time a smile after a long look. Then she walked up to him.

“I know a vato back home that looks like you,” she said unexpectedly.

“Where’s that?” he asked sarcastically.

“Southside,” she said.

“What’s his name? I could be related,” he said.

“Never found out. Tried chipleando him for years, but he was always sonseando,” she said.

“Eee, you should’ve thrown him a chiflido. For sure he would’ve gotten all chipi then,” he said.

“¯_¯¯_¯____,” she whistled.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.