Veritas  Any Day Now
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Yes, these phrases can be so useful. Just insert the handy cutout in the back of that Spanish phrase book that you use for communicating with your Latino gardener, maid, roofer, tree trimmer, handyman, nanny or day-worker. The phrases found here could be used if you ever decide that you really gave a good goddamn about any of the ubiquitous dark-skinned people who do those shit jobs that you wouldn’t consider doing.


So at the end of the day when he or she is resting, sitting on that chair that you never use, having a drink of agua (water) after doing your laundry, vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the floors on her knees or caring for your child or cutting the grass or trimming your hedge or planting fresh spring flowers along the walkway and up the drive, ask these questions of that dark-skinned person in your employ. It’ll make you feel good about yourself and might bring a shy smile to the face of the servant. And make sure you give a little hug after your chat. And by the way, if the Latino chooses to answer any of these questions, “Si” (pronounced “see”) means yes. And “No” (pronounced “no”) is no.










1. Are you from Mexico?

¿Es usted de México?


2. What country are you from?

¿De dónde es usted?


3. How did you get here?

¿Cómo llegó aquí?


4. Did you pay somebody to bring you here?

¿Usted pagó a alguien que le trajera aquí?


5. Did the coyote harm you in any way?

¿El coyote le dañó?


6. Did the coyote rape you?

¿El coyote le violó?


7. Your trip to the United States required how many days?

¿Cuántos días tardó el viaje a los estados unidos?


8. Did you take a bus part of the way?

¿Usted tomó autobús en el viaje?


9. Did you walk part of the way?

¿Usted caminó en el viaje?


10. Did you travel at night?

¿Usted viajó por la noche?


11. In attempting to reach the United States were you ever beaten by a peace officer (policeman) or a Border Patrol agent?

¿Durante el viaje a los estados unidos, la migra o la policía le dañó?


12. Are you happy that you are here?

¿Está feliz aquí?


13. Do you miss your home?

¿Extraña a su casa?



(And most of all, don’t forget that hug.)

9 June 2006

I am responsible for the content. My thanks to Tracy Young and Suzanne Roberts for the Spanish translation.—B.L.

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