sexta-feira, janeiro 05, 2007

The Meaning of "Portugueseness" - Part II 

  My name is Miguel, I am a 3rd grader and today I have to accomplish my school assignment, because today is the deadline. The assignment consists in describing the Portuguese people and their habits, by the way, I forgot to tell, I’m Portuguese.
  I decided that the best way to do this job was to interview the people on my neighbourhood. But the morning started bad, because I had an argument with my older brother Carlos. He got mad with me ‘cause I told my friends at school that my mother was a domestic servant. Well, she is a domestic servant. Apparently, my brother spread the news that our mother was an account manager in a big company and forgot to warn me about the fact. Sometimes I think he is ashamed of our family. When I asked for his help on the assignment, he refused, said he had to go buy a new expensive jeans just like those bought by João, our next door neighbour . But this reminded me of a Portuguese characteristic, we like to dress well. So I wrote my first item:

- Portuguese care about what they dress

  I crossed with Mr. and Mrs. Pereira, as usual I said hello but there was no answer in return. It’s weird, they seem a nice couple, maybe they think I am just a kid. And there was my second item:

- Portuguese don´t speak with neighbours in the elevators, at least if the neighbour isn’t yet an adult.

  Sofia is the hottest girl in the street and that is why nobody complains when she, like today, parks her car over the sidewalk just in front of our building door . She was walking her huskey, Inca, and I asked her help for the assignment. So she did:

- Portuguese like dogs.

  Of course she loved her dog, but not to the point of picking his poo up. She did it only when Mr. Pinto was watching, but today he showed up too late . Mr. Pinto is a retired old man who lives alone and spends a lot of time playing cards with his buddies. He gave me some advises about my assignment. Although he spent our talk spitting to the floor, it was a nice conversation and I got another item:

- Portuguese get smarter with age.

  Mr. Pinto told me he once had done a work like mine when he was younger and if I needed help he could explain me everything. He is a clever person, though my mother wasn’t pleased with him when he said he would fix our refrigerator and broke it . My brother doesn’t like him also. It’s an old story, Mr. Pinto said he was a bike expert and tried to fix my brother’s bike and things went wrong.
  I went to the Laurinda’s café and got a lot of material for the assignment. It’s a typical neighbourhood café. It’s very noisy; the floor is always covered with buts, chewing gums and lupin’s crusts. It has a smell of cheap wine and there’s always cigarette smoke on the air .
  Sofia was talking with Dr. Bento, it seems that she got a parking ticket and she was trying to get rid of it. Dr. Bento is, as my mother says, a "very useful person" . Everybody calls him "Dr. Bento", when I grow up I want people to call me "Dr. Oliveira"; it will make me feel important.

- Important Portuguese are addressed by "Dr.".

  Laurinda, the café’s owner, was loudly complaining to her supplier. He was supposed to bring pips and lupins the week before and was excusing himself, saying he had had troubles with his provider, seems he had his mother-in-law sick and couldn’t deliver on time .

- Portuguese care about family members.

  It was soccer day and the game was about to start when interferences appeared on the TV. Somebody suggested the antenna broke. To "Senhora" Laurinda’s luck, Beto Mãozinhas was in the house. He promptly offered himself to fix the antenna as he could. Everybody got amazed seeing him fixing the antenna with only cutlery . Then it occured me another topic.

- Portuguese can fix antennas with knives and forks.

  While Beto was fixing the antenna, three or four guys joined him to help. To me it seemed strange that they did nothing but speak, maybe they were giving him technical support. All I could hear was "do it like this...", "don’t do it like this, do it like that" and it gave me a new item:

- Portuguese are good team workers.

  On my way home, I saw Dr. Bento speaking with a police officer in a very happy mood. Probably he was telling him about Sofia’s fine. I don´t understand why she always parks her car in front of our building when fifty meters down the street there´s a parking lot always half empty. But I got another item from this occurrence:

- Portuguese polices have low wages and people help them with money.

  When I got home my father was very upset and complaining about something he received from the IRS. It seems he got into troubles due to tax evasion.
  He was sitting in front of the TV set, watching the game, drinking beer and shouting now and then for his team and swearing at the referee.
  My mother was making dinner and when half-time came she put dinner on the table and my father was still with his annoying toothpick noisy habit.

- In soccer days, Portuguese have meals at half-time.

  After dinner I sent my assignment to my teacher, Mr. Bastos. He sent me a reply saying I caught well the meaning of being Portuguese and told me I had been clever not to mention the onions and potatoes my father gave him.

Eheheh, lindo, ainda gostei mais em suporte de blogue. E aprovei para publicitar lá no tasco. Abraço.
Um bocadinho à "Adrian Mole"; não? O que não elimina algumas verdades portuguesas.
Fantastico, meu velho! The true essence of portugueseness.
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