You understand what I'm saying?

Two weeks ago, I rode the MetroRail to an appointment in the medical center.  Without details, I'll tell you that I felt like shit.  Mostly sad and alone.  On the ride back, a ride marshal asked me for my ticket, which of course I had.  She pushed me a little further down the hole.  It got crowded around the Fiesta on Main @ 59, and an older Chicano got on the train.

I can call him a Chicano because I'm a Chicana.  And also because he was wearing a plaid button down shirt, with his hair slicked back, and tinted prescription glasses.  Big gold jewelry.  He looked like my cousin Cathy's husband, Joe Angel.  I can call my own.

He came up to my seat and asked me in Spanish if he could sit down.  "Of course!" I replied.  I took out a headphone.  He continued speaking in Spanish.

"You understand what I'm saying?"


He switched to English.

"Man, that's real good.  Sometimes people that look like us, they smile and nod at me, but they don't understand what I'm saying.  They don't speak Spanish.  My daughters don't speak Spanish.  Oh, it makes me so mad.  Whenever they ask me for money, or something they need, I pretend like I don't understand them.  I say, 'no, you can't have anything unless you ask me in Spanish.'"

He laughed to himself.

We went on talking about different things.  He lives on Fulton, near my aunt, but he doesn't know her.  He served in the Army and was stationed in Germany.

"Ich spreche Deutsch!" he proclaimed.

As we entered downtown, he pulled a napkin and a pen out of his pocket.  He started scribbling numbers in sets of three.  He turned to me and said, "Hey, give me three numbers.  I'm going to play them on the Pick3 for a dollar."

I gave him 7, 6, and 1.

He wrote them down and circled them.  Making them special from the rest of his list.  He told me all about the rules of Pick3.  They draw 3 times a day.  You can play the numbers all kinds of ways: exact order, variations, 2 out of 3, etc.  I stopped listening really.  But I kept smiling and nodding.

We both got off at the Main Street station.  He said he was going to buy tickets at the dollar store there on the corner, before the mid-day drawing.  He offered to buy me one too if I wanted to come with him.  No, I politely refused and said I had to get back to work.  We parted.

I got back to my desk and sent my parents an email, like I usually do, just telling them about my day.  I mentioned the man and the numbers that I'd given him.  A few hours later, my mom emailed me back.  She said she'd checked the website for Pick3.

The 12:30 pm numbers were 7, 1, and 6!


  1. That's amazing!!!! I love that you've started up a blog, and I love hearing about your day :). I'm terrible about not talking to people. I distract myself with my phone or ask generic questions. It's pretty cool to imagine how many stories are out there if we are just willing to let them happen. Love you!


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