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Don’t be chiflado


Órale, this week’s feature is the word, chiflado. It means to be carried away or assume too much about what somebody else is thinking or intending, usually in romantic situations. It comes from the Spanish verb for whistle, chiflar. The term is often simply stated as a telling whistle.

The vato was chiflado.

Why not?

He hadn’t gotten that way on his own. The ruca he was chiflado about had done it.

She had given him a broad smile for no real reason, other than that he made eye contact with her at the laundry one day they were both coming in at the same time. From then on, their weekly laundry schedules seemed to coincide perfectly. He wasn’t even trying, just sticking to an old routine. She was the new one.

Then she had said an extended thank you when he opened the door for her, as if they were old acquaintances. Soon after that, she picked up a wet piece of underwear he dropped while moving his laundry from the washer to the dryer. That act counted for two. Now she had picked the seat next to his to await her drying. The vato took that to be a huge move, bordering on aggressive.

He had loaded his dryer just seconds before she had started moving her clothes from the washer. In his mind, this set up a moment of truth.

Given that the drying cycles weren’t exact, some dryers a minute early and others the same variance late, there was a chance they’d time out together, and they’d end up standing side by side pulling out their clothes at the same time. He calculated that, better still, if her dryer dinged first and she lingered until his timed out, then he would have a straight flush—royal if she then initiated the conversation.

“We’ll see what’s my luck in a minute or two,” he told himself.

The vato squirmed in his seat. He tried hard not to even glance at her, but he failed. One of the other dryers sounded off, and he instructively turned toward it and caught her eye. She smiled meekly, and he quickly turned away.

“Eee! A toda madre,” he thought, as he ran his hands on his knees as of to smooth out his pants.

A few seconds later, his dryer dinged.

Disappointed, he lingered in his seat. He thought about what he should do next.

“That your dryer that dinged?” she asked all of a sudden.

“Siról. I was just thinking of putting in more quarters to be sure everything’s dry,” he responded.

She didn’t say more.

But a minute later, she spoke up again.

“You gonna put more time on it?” she asked him

“Chale, was gonna just wait for your’s to bing and keep you company,” he said.

“Nel, nel. I don’t need company pulling out my clothes. Don’t be chiflado, ese. Get your chivas now so I don’t have to crowd around you when I get mine,” she said.

“Órale. I wasn’t being chiflado, just…,” the vato said, his voice trailing off as he rose out of his seat and stepped up to the dryer.

Mercifully, her dryer didn’t cycle out while he was pulling out his clothes.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.