As the Western year is quickly coming to a close, despite my shock and objection, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on a couple of learning lessons this year.
Mothering is both rough and rewarding, all moms readily understand this and it needs no explanation. And although it seems that most of my life is spent either in the mom van dropping off and picking up the kids or in the midst of a yelling match with them, or a mix of both, I’m also continuously learning from them, especially on how words and language are being used.
Take a couple of weeks ago as a prime example. Maya had been working on her science fair board, I should say boards because she had so much damned info and data that we had to stack two together, literally one stacked above the other, both boards held together by superglued wooden yardsticks and a ton of duct tape. Her board ended up being taller than she is and the growing girl is at least 5’3”. She spent weeks working on this project that to date, I don’t even completely comprehend and I was a former science teacher. In the morning when Quetzal saw Maya’s deluxe science board she said, “Why you got to flex on me?” or something like that. I said, “What? Que es flex? Like flexing my big bicep on you?” Quetzal just looked at me and rolled her eyes. I got the point though.
Man they’ll roast me if I get it wrong. There’s another learning word for you, roast. Growing up roast referred to the turkey in the oven or the carne. Then I learned a couple years back during jury duty that roast was a term used in the drug world, or at least the one in the South Valley. “Hey, you got my roast ready?” And he didn’t mean the roast beef, he meant the roasted crack. So now roast, I’ve learned from the chamakos, is used in reference to ‘making fun of’ someone, but bad. Once in a while I’ll let the kids go on a bit with their roast sessions as were driving around Burque, unless I’m a target or included in it, then it’s a definite no go.
But the term that really got me thinking and writing this was, “left on read.” When I first heard the girls use it, for a second I thought what the hell does the color red have to do with anything? Because I’m always interested in what they’re saying I asked, “Que es eso? Like left in the color red? Like mad or what?”
“Ugh, no mom. Like left on read when you know someone’s read your text and they don’t respond.”
As she said this I snapped immediately as I pictured many texts I’d sent or received with the word Read and time hovering right below the message.
“Oh, I totally get it and it’s happened to me and I’ve done it to others.”
“That’s so wrong mom.”
“Yeah I know and I’m not proud.”
The convo went something like that. It started and ended quickly but it really made me think, to the point that I’m still thinking about it and I learned it several months ago.
It left such an impression because I realized that it’s a bad habit many of us have picked up due to this pinche overloaded technology-driven world we’re in. With social media galore and an app for everything you can think of, we are supposedly so much more connected to one another, but in reality the way I see it, we’re even more disconnected than before.
“Left on read.”
Damn, I know the feeling all too well and not just as the giver, but mostly as the receiver of this super maleducado behavior. I can say with every ounce of truth that when I’ve done it, it’s been largely unintentional, mostly due to my forgetful mind that’s on constant overload or my reality as a mom raising four crazy kids. It’s still not excusable, but it’s my disclaimer.
And to make matters worse, some clever humans even go as far as changing their settings so you can’t literally see they left you on read, meaning the word and time are gone, but it doesn’t matter because whether you see the offensive word or not, you know you’ve been left hanging.
I also realized that there’s different ways to be “left on read.” It’s not just through the text, it can be by email or worse, in person. With these last two options you don’t literally see the word Read 5:32 pm, but the feeling is just the same.
Oh I know you saw my email, you just chose not to answer it. Why? Because society has put it in our minds that it’s somehow okay to leave something or someone unanswered.
And in person, that’s the worst one of the ‘left on read’ practices. It’s when you see someone you know while you’re out and about and you pretend that you didn’t see them.
Last time this happened to me I was left feeling not only a bit hurt, but confused as to why my Xicana comadre left me physically in the read pretending like she didn’t see me in that small parking lot as she ran the hell off as if I was the last person she wanted to see. Can you believe it?
As I write those words I myself cringe a slight bit because I’ve unfortunately done that a couple of times myself. I can’t explain why. Maybe I just didn’t want to be seen at the moment with my hair all messy wearing some awful outfit, especially not when I was trying to find a Halloween costume for one of my kids at Savers, so I pretended that I didn’t see you but I did. #notproud
As this New Year is soon to begin I’ve got a new resolution set for myself – to pledge to not leave any one of you on read ever again – not by text, email, or in person. It might take me a lil second to respond, but I will, I promise.
So next time you see me running towards you with open arms all crazy-looking at the store or swap meet or wherever our paths cross, hopefully you’ve read this post and know what it’s all about.
Here’s to not leaving any human on read, it just doesn’t feel good.
A la chingada with Western society and its bad habits.