05 September 2010

I'll see you in a little bit!

Time, here in Irapuato, is not something that we worry much about. I used to, but I don't anymore. There always seems to be plenty of time to get things done and if they don't get done "on time"...so what? Things almost always seem to get done eventually. I have learned the hard way that enjoying life is much more important than "saving time". Save time for what, so you can do more work? Forget about it! The often touted "Puritan Work Ethic" found north of the border is really nothing more than the "Rat Race" under another name. As the late Jimmy Reid, the well known Scottish labor leader and journalist once said, "A rat race is for rats. We are not rats. We are Human Beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you...". Old habits die hard, however, and I still sometimes feel that the hands of the clock are messing with my conscience as if they were mussing up my hair.

There is a word in Mexican Spanish that you will probably hear a lot. The word is "ahorita" and it is the diminutive form of "ahora" (ah-OR-ah) which means "now" in English You could say that "ahorita" is the diminutive form of "now" or in other words "ahorita" means "in a little bit". Ahorita is pronounced more or less as ow-REE-tah. The phrase "Ahorita vengo" translates as "I'll be right back" but in Mexico it doesn't mean "I'll be right back for sure". Many times it is just used as a place holder and the actual time that elapses between going and coming back can vary quite a bit. In fact, in some cases it means that the person probably won't return. For example, if you are sitting next to someone at a party or a wedding and the conversation gets dull they may say, "Con permiso, ahorita vengo". They are asking your pardon to absent themselves for a moment as if they need to go to the restroom or they saw a friend that they want to say hello to. In reality, they just want to leave you and don't want to say something awkward. Both parties understand what is happening and it is no big deal. It is just being polite. If someone really means that they will be right back for sure they will often say, "Ahoritita vengo". That means that they positively will return in a little bit. Ahoritita is pronounced like ow-ree-TEE-tah.

My wife Gina is always saying to me "Ahorita vengo" or "Ahorita nos vemos" (We'll see each other in a little bit). That could mean anything from ten minutes to two or three hours unless she bumps into one of her friends or relatives and then it might take an hour longer. This doesn't bother me anymore because now I do it too. If I want to pin her down to a specific time the best that I can do is to get her to say "Cinco pasaditas" or "Pasaditas de las cinco". The word "pasaditas" (pah-sah-DEE-tah) is a diminutive form of "pasadas" as in "Son las cinco pasadas" meaning "It is after five o'clock". However, just like "ahorita" stretches out "ahora", pasaditas stretches out pasadas. That means that "cinco pasaditas" could actually mean anytime between five and six.

I write about words like "ahorita" and "pasaditas" for my friends who are climbing the "Learning Mexican Spanish" mountain with me. Pasaditas is a word that you probably won't find in the dictionary and if you plug it into Google you will get thousands of returns for a popular restaurant in Chicago called "Las Pasaditas". There are so many undocumented words and phrases that are used as idiomatic expressions in every day speech that it is difficult if not impossible to remember them when you want to speak but on the other hand it is very comforting to be able to recognize them when they are spoken by others so that you can understand exactly what is being said. My suggestion is to pick a handful of idiomatic expressions that you like and practice them with your Spanish speaking friends so that you get them right and then pick another bunch and start over. Like old Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker always says, "I'll see you at the top!"...

¡ Ahorita !

8 comments:

Gloria said...

Bob, ahorita vengo! Ya me voy para la cocina ha cocinar. Yo regrese!
Ahorita vengo, despues.:))

Leslie Harris de Limon said...

Bob, eres todo un maestro!

The "ahorita" that I always remeber is my grandmother's "No dejes para mañana, lo que puedes hacer ahorita!"

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

This was a distinction that I did not know. I am glad I do because my kids could use this one against me and be at their friends houses much longer then I give permission for. jaja. Great post- as always.

Maria Luisa & Ruairidh said...

Hi! Found this blog while randomly surfing the web...well not too randomly since my husband and i just moved to Irapuato 2 months ago....and yes we did learn about "ahorita" the hard way, that is spending whole day waiting for people who never came back...or better said they eventually did but several weeks after!!!!

Bob Mrotek said...

Gloria,
¿Qué pasó? ¿Donde estás?

Leslie and Mindy. You gals are great!

Maria Luisa & Ruairidh,
Welcome to Irapuato!

C and G Taylor said...

Bob, Your Spanish lessons are great, and I always hope to have more time to spend with them after the first reading - so I guess I've got too much of the busy-ness you describe! I will not give up - ahorita vengo!!
Gigi

Anonymous said...

Great article as usual Bob. Here in Sonora, they often use rato or ratito. Voy al centro por un ratito. I am going downtown for a little while. Just like ahorita, un ratito can be quite a while!

Alfredo said...

A disfrutar Irapuato y a disfrutar de la vida Bob.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.