On The Island, act of lying has its own continuum that spans from shameless Pinocchio style deceit, to what I call the exaggeration of a questionable answer. In more colloquial terms, this is known as: el mueleo.
Two parts bullshit and one part persuasive discourse; el mueleo is an art form in it of itself. I advise the inexperienced not to dismiss it as moment when Islanders seem eager to please or supremely interested in your propositions, for it is a buffer to avoid telling the truth.
El mueleo bifurcates itself into two types: (1) overly positive, at times long-winded and overwhelmingly enthusiastic responses, or (2) a brief and evasive answer given when it does not behoove the Islander to tell the truth.
El mueleo also has three important terrains: romance, employment or investment opportunities, and social settings. While the latter two will be discussed, the first one I leave for another entry. In order to illustrate a clear picture of full-throttle mueleo, examples including appropriate translations will be provided.
As far as employment goes, most of my fellow Yorkies (another name given to us by Islanders), say that by the time their City job interview is over, they have negotiated a $30k raise, a full vacation package and personal days, a company car, and a hefty expense account. All through the right (not the art) of asking questions before closing the deal. Thus, the standard issues that the average person is entitled to inquire about in The City seem near taboo topics on The Island. You think a gal with a classic New York City style negotiating ability has nothing on el mueleo. Well, I will admit that my skills were put to shame as I tried to haggle (ahem) discuss the preliminaries of an offer while living on The Island:
Me: ¿Cuánto me van a pagar?
Them: Bueno, tu sabe’ que estamos comenzado y somos una compañía nueva pero hay que ver cuáles directrices vamos a tomar para poder ajustar una tabla salarial adecuada.
Translation: Don’t expect much.
Me: Y, ¿Cuántos días de vacaciones me tocan?
Them: No porque tu sabe’…que lo que se mira es el trabajo del empleado, su capacidad profesional….y el aporte que hace al crecimiento y desarrollo del equipo de la compañía.
Translation: You have no right to get sick, except when taking a medical leave.
Of course, you need not to worry about all this is you are a blonde, blue-eyed European or American. Islanders will worship you, for you are the Aryan prize that will make their establishments look good. A business full of blue-eyed blondes will prompt Islanders to say: Ese lugar es buenísimo. Hay mucha gente de (insert Swedish-type country here). Cute foreign accents are another hot commodity, but on only second to the aforementioned. Hence, it is no surprise that an illiterate blue-eyed blonde foreigner will get hired with a luxe salary and benefits, way before a Dominican Newyorker with a Ph.D. from Harvard does. (More on Islanders and foreigners in another entry).
So in order to save you trouble my fellow Yorkies, here are other examples of mueleo with settings and translations, respectively.
At a bar
Me: ¿Saben preparar un martini?
Them: ¡Oh…pero claaaaaaaaaro! (Translantion: I’ve never heard of a martini)
Me: No quiero ir a playa tal porque aun no está totalmente acondicionada.
Them: ¡Adió pero eso ha cambiado muchííííísimo!
(Translation: It hasn’t changed a bit. I just like contradicting Dominicans from NYC)
Me: Necesito que me remitas el pago que me debes.
Them: ¡Ay…Pero yo no sabía!
(Translation: I did know, but I was aiming for you to forget about it).
1. It is a travesty that the only time I was able to savor a real dirty martini on The Island was at a friend’s house that knows the art of fixing this amazing three-ingredient concoction. Reminder: if the drink requires a shaker, I advise you not to order it.
2. I visit The Island twice a year, and I have yet to witness el cambio tan grande que ha dado. Reminder: Always agree with Islanders about the changes. It makes them believe they have won the argument.
3. Negotiations with Islanders should be handled on a same-day-cash-in-hand basis.
Reminder: Nunca Fiar.