Here you are Cracked Chancla

The Crud has caught me! I wake up each morning with a dry, scratchy throat that makes me want to reach under all the fat, skin and muscle of my throat and tear it out. Crud, I hate you. I hope you know that.

Anyway, because you asked for it, here it is Cracked Chancla (by the way, I love that name).

My Sunday evening began with a trip to Border to find nothing written by Elena Poniatoska. I don’t buy that many books because you know, I’m usually broke, and well, I can borrow them from our mega library at school. So anyway, while in Borders, I get a call from the Mexican Consulate woman asking me to pick up Elena at The Menil. Of course, it took her saying it a couple of times to understand what the heck she was saying. I arrive at The Menil with J.P., who almost pissed in his pants when told that Poniatoska would be in our class. We walk around the Menil a few times and can’t find her. Finally, we walk back to the big round gray pillow/couch in the lobby to see her, Poniatoska, sitting there. She was happy to see us because she thought we had ditched her or something.

Dinner was good. We went to this Italian place downtown. Of course, there were tons of dumb and irritating questions asked like, “How is Mexico?” To which she replied, “Muy mal, muy mal.”

J.P. and I looked at each other with the same, “what kind of fucking question is that” look. The red neck man sitting at the next table couldn’t stop staring at Poniatoska. I gave him a couple of evil glares. I know he didn’t know who she was, but I think he got that she was someone important if all these people had dressed up and seemed immensely interested on her every word.

When dinner was over, J.P. and I drove her back to the hotel. She was amazed at the city. Kept saying how beautiful it is but how odd that people were not out and about. She also loved our useless Metrorail and wondered if she could ride it all day Monday.

Monday, I was to pick her up for the class presentation. Again, J.P. went with. I figured it’d be a good idea because he could go in and ask for her while I waited in the “getaway” vehicle. When we got to the University, the room where the class would be held, was closed. They claimed no one had reserved anything and made us wait a whole half hour. When they finally let us in, she read about five different pieces. The last one was on the earthquake of 1982 and it was…amazing. I sat in my chair, captivated by the images and feeling that her words were causing.

After that, we took her to lunch at the same restaurant where she would dine later that night. During all this, I was calling my sister to check on her status. She was unable to make it to the class because she felt really bad. She caught the Crud too. I called her after I dropped off Poniatoska at the hotel and my sis asked me to take over her evening duties with Poniatoska. She thought it was some huge burden on me.

It was funny because when I dropped her off, I told her my sis would be picking her up and she said, “Ya me habia acostrumbado a Georgina.” It was good she didn’t have to change. When I picked her up, I took her the belt she had asked me to get because the shirt she would be wearing was too big and it made her look “pregneant.” I draped her coat over her shoulders and she said, “Me quidas como a tu abuelita.”

I took her back to the said restaurant and had dinner with the people who would be introducing her, the Inprint guy and Judith Ortiz Cofer. After dinner, we headed over to the auditorium and I mingled with my boss, Dr. NK and such. Elena had to go to the restroom, and my roommate, who had been with us the whole time, went upstairs to get something from her office. (Our offices are in the same building as the auditorium.) I was standing at the foot of the stairs which is also where the restroom is, so when Elena came out she said to me, “¿Ya vamos?” Just then NK came over and so we all walked into the auditorium. NK invited me to sit in the reserved section, but I told him I would sit off to the side because I was waiting for my roomie.

I said goodbye to Poniatoska when she signed my book which says:

A Georgina,

Mi angel de la guarda
Mi hada madrina
Mi compañera
Generosa y dulce

De corazón agradecido

Elena Poniatoska Amor


cindylu said...

Based on your first-person account of your interaction with Elena P., I can say I like this woman even more.

Cracked Chancla said...

Thank you Brown Girl--for the post and your compliments. If you have a chance to read anything by Elena read Tinisima, it made me want to go out and take a photography class. Elena is so sweet and its hard not to like her. I saw her at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum in Chicago a couple of years back and I was impressed at how she took her time with each person waiting in line to get their book signed--I think she personalizes each book she signs, which makes it that much more special.

La Brown Girl said...

Cindylu-I thought about you while I waited in line to have my book singed. I wished I had more cash because I would have had her sign a book for you.

Cracked Chancla-once this whole bachelor's thing is over, I plan to read a lot for pleasure and Tinisima is on the top of my list. I bought the translated version of The Skin of the Sky. I read El Recado in spanish and she read it in English and I must say that I enjoyed it in Spanish a lot more. But it was good to hear her read it.

cindylu said...

Aw, Geo. That would have been too sweet. Thanks for thinking of me though.