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.
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.