Tit For Tat

The best piece of advice my mother has given me is: “Es mejor deber dinero que deber favores.”

Islanders are specialists in pedir favores. This would not be such an issue if They would at least understand the realm of possibilities in carrying out such endeavors. Say “no”…for whatever reason…y te jodiste. Prepare for a slew of behind-your-back comments of how lo hiciste de maldad o por mala fe or how much of a malagradecida you are,  for the asking of a favor is merely a retribution for a favor done for you. What’s worse is when requesting a favor, there is no tempering. Don’t expect a si es posible, si se puede, si no es mucha molestia. It’s more like yo necesito, traeme, no dejes de traermelo (a piece on Islanders’ sense of entitlement is forthcoming).

Anytime I hear an Islander say necesito que me hagas un favor, I cringe.  The reason being, it is illusory to fathom the existence of a scale that encompasses plausible degrees of feasibility  for favor execution, especially those that are highly problematic to carry out (a favorite of Islanders). They have a serious lack of comprehending the level of inconvenience we get put through when asked for a favorcito. Since everything is resolved with eso no e’ na’,  there is no boundary that delineates the difference between a small favor and a huge favor. Meaning that if you ask for being picked up because you have a flat tire, the exchange would be something to extent of helping a friend of a friend find a job in The City, including resume and cover writing/translation, interview training, and other necessary diligencias.

In this edition, I offer you a comparable scope of favors as per City and Island standards.  If you have examples of your own, do share. The comments reflect my reaction to favores I have been asked to do in the past.

A small favor:
The City: Would you mind holding the elevator door while I get my mail?
The Island: Trame unas vitaminas, desodorante, pintalabios, perfume, crema, pasta de dientes de la marca tal que solamente lo venden en tal tienda y cuesta tanto.

So now you have to schlep all over the City looking for products that are either not sold on the Island or are too expensive for Islanders to purchase.  You pay out of pocket, knowing that on the other end not even the courtesy to offer you a refund will occur.

A favor:
The City: Would it be possible for me to have a package delivered to your house?
Island: Pa’ que me le lleves este encargo a fulana.

This is infuriating.  Just when you thought that you would be traveling light, an assumption is being made that you have more than enough room to carry a throw-out-of-a-helicopter crisis box.  Make no mistake. Someone volunteered you by saying “mándalo con fulana que ella siempre viaja livianita.”

A big favor:
The City:  Would it be possible for you to pick me up from the airport?
The Island: Trame una television plasma de sesenta pulgadas y de la marca tal porque aquí están muy caras y hay que pagar impuestos.

I have nothing to say.

A huge favor
The City: Would you be able to take care of my dog while I’m gone for the weekend?
The Island: Te voy a mandar el hijo mío por un año porque quiere hacer un curso de inglés, pa’ que me lo recibas en tu casa.

As my Jewish friends would say…the chutzpah!

In conclusion, whenever on the Island, I try to the best of my New York City capability to do everything on my own, from catching a cab to and fro the airport to staying in a hotel, because another wise advice my mother has given me is: No jodas para que no te jodan.

15 responses to “Tit For Tat

  1. The definition of favor is an act of gracious kindness or an obliging act that is FREELY granted. It seems that the islanders “favors” fall more into the category of assigning someone a task which involves great leg work and/or responsibility. That’s why the most important word is: NO!!

    • My mother used to keep secret that she was planning a trip to the Island. She would say that it was because someone might get the idea to break into the apartment. I suspect it had more to do with the ‘Favors’ and other impositions she was avoiding. The dripping mess of Queso de oja coming back to New York is one I refuse to accept.

      • RedCat on December 22, 2011 The paisley & grey would be such an elenagt addition to my handbag! I’ve been on the hunt for a wallet that’s a bit different, and these definately fit the bill!

  2. I’ve been asked crazy favors! the craziest has been to take 60 Pasteles en Hoja from Santo Domingo to my friend in Madrid. I must admit that having those home-made pasteles for new years in spain rocked, but I’ve always asked myself: what would have happened if customs would have opened up my suitcase to find 60 individually packaged pasteles? what sort of trouble would i had been in?

    I guess that when you’re from the island a favor to send or receive something when you’re traveling is a given. I have recently resorted to just telling everyone no since airlines have become more restrictive with luggage.

    I just hate being led to believe that if i deny someone a favor i am automatically the worst person in the world.

  3. Hilarious! I must say this is also true for your brethren, Los Borincanos…

  4. It’s true that there is no difference between a small favor and a huge favor, for dominicans a favor is a favor is a favor. I was asked to fly with some niece of some friend of my aunt’s. When we landed on JFK, we had to drive her all the way to Jersey because she was all by herself and had no one to pick her up. When we exited the baggage area, I asked her, y quien te viene a buscar. She said ay yo no se… My husband and I had a cow!!! She had the phone number of her family, and when we called, some woman on the other end said…demenle un empujoncito que tenemos el carro danado. My husban swears this was a calculated move… i have to agree with him.

    • Calculated indeed!!! From JFK airport to New Jersey in definately not just ‘un empujoncito’ because the number of miles and toll to get to Jersey means a Cab would have cost cost to One Hundred Goerge Washingtons. How low can you go?!! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
      I wonder what would have they done, if you had put that child on cab CASH ON DELIVERY (C.O.D)????
      ROFL!!! LMAO

  5. Nuala, you have done it again!! LMAO… I loved the huge favor one… I’m surprised you haven’t included asking for favors como a lo tirando puya…you know when they hint that they want something.

  6. Please allow me to share:

    Little favor:

    Could I borrow a buck, the water machine isn’t accepting change.

    Mira tu me puedes comprarme el pasaje con tu tarjeta que yo te lo doy despues en efectivo.

    Ay! ya yai!

  7. LOL! This is too funny but also way too true. More than favors, I think this speaks more to how islanders impose themselves onto other.

    • I’m getting neruovs about getting on a plane tomorrow. The thought of a pilot with get-there-itis’ I think it’s okay to suffer from it sometimes with a first draft though. Maybe it depends on whether you can put your work aside for a while and pause or whether you have a finite amount of time to get to the end of the draft. If it’s the latter I think sketching things out is okay. Like you say, there needs to be something to work from for the drafts to come. But I tend to be someone who has to expand rather cut back, anyway, so I don’t mind that much. Especially agree with point 5. I love those characters who come along unexpectedly and start pirouetting across the page. In many ways I think it’s their existence that makes me write; I need the surprises.

  8. Haha… This is very funny. It takes a lot of balls to ask for favors which only place the other person in difficult predicaments.

  9. Pingback: Thanks, But No Thanks | Nuala Knows

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