Durango


Would you believe Ivan is Mexican?

No, I’m not talking about the Dodge Durango.

I want to tell you about an incident that happened at my old house at 8029 S. Troy Street about eight years ago. My air conditioner wasn’t cooling off my house like it was supposed to, so I needed to have the air conditioner cleaned and the freon recharged, or whatever it is they do to make air conditioners blow cold air again. I don’t remember the exact name of the company I called to service my air conditioner, but it was one of those typically generic sounding names. Something like 24 Hours Heating Cooling. There are many businesses in Chicago with similar sounding names. So I called them and they offered to come to my house withing two days. So a young man comes to my house with all his air conditioner servicing tools. I was surprised when he asked to use my garden hose to clean my air conditioner coil in the backyard. I’m thinking, okay, I’m paying big bucks to have my air conditioner serviced and I have to provide my garden hose and water? I realized afterward that this was something I could do myself and save myself some money. However, he did have to add freon to the system, which I couldn’t have done all by myself.

Anyway, as I was watching so I could learn to do as many of these things as possible myself before I called for service the next time, he started talking to me in Spanish. “He’s talking to me in Spanish!” I thought to myself. Now why would he speak Spanish to me? Well, he had to know my name was David Rodríguez from the service order and so it was logical for him to strike up a conversation with me. But, what I’m getting at is, this guy is speaking Spanish! He doesn’t even look Mexican! He has green eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion. We converse for about a minute in Spanish. I must have a very surprised look on my face the whole time because he finally tells me, “You’re probably wondering why I speak Spanish.” As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I was wondering!  But I didn’t care to admit it. Then he says, “Guess my nationality!” I knew better than to guess since I knew I would definitely guess wrong, although I was beginning to think that perhaps he was Irish. When I didn’t venture a guess, he told me to look at his baseball cap for a clue. There was a scorpion on it. If you ever see a scorpion on a baseball cap or a car, that could only mean one thing. Durango.

He told me he was born and raised in México. He must have been reading my mind because he was answering every question I thought of. He said that he didn’t look Mexican because he was from Durango. He said that no one in Durango looked Mexican. I guess I thrown off because he didn’t look Mexican and by the fact that he spoke perfect English. Well, that was an educating experience that was not wasted on me!

This morning I was driving to UIC when I saw this minivan stopped in front of me at a red light. The license plate read IVAN 925. And there were two scorpion decals on the back windows. I immediately knew the driver was a Mexican from Durango, o sea, un duranguense. I just had to take a picture of his van and license plate. And just verify that he truly was a duranguense, I drove up alongside and saw that he did not look Mexican at all!

David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.
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