Friday, February 1, 2013

La Bamba Bob -- Locks, Frozen Car


You've seen La Bamba, right?

I've seen it multiple times. Not because I'm any kind of fan or anything, but because my Spanish teacher felt it was a crucial part of the Spanish curriculum and showed it every year. She also annually showed the movie Alive. You might wonder what a movie about a rugby team that is stranded in the Andes mountains and reduced to cannibalism has to do with Spanish. Oh, well, the team was from Uruguay, which is a Spanish-speaking country. Makes perfect sense to spend class time watching it. (Not that I was complaining. I mean, Ethan Hawke is in the movie and this was the 90s.) The same logic applied to our yearly "Reuben Sandwich Day." Corned beef is the main export of Argentina....people in Argentina speak Spanish...perfect (if you like Reubens, which I do not).

Sound pedagogical decisions such as these just might be the reason that my knowledge of the Spanish language is rudimentary at best. Hmmm. Anyway, back to La Bamba. If you've seen the movie, then you'll know who this is:

That's right. Bob, Ritchie Valens' rough and tumble biker brother. Or, "La Bamba Bob" as my friend Kelly and I liked to refer to him. We felt bad for Bob. He was the older brother, yet everything was always about Ritchie. At one point, he wins an art contest, but he tears up his drawing, knowing that it can never compare to Ritchie's success with music. How sad is that? Things like this can almost make you forgive him for impregnating Ritchie's first girlfriend or going on drinking benders. It must have been so hard to be that much less attractive than his brother. See for yourself. No contest, right?

Poor Bob. That's why Kelly and I hatched a plan in the back of the Spanish room to have a party that celebrated La Bamba Bob, and La Bamba Bob only, to celebrate his life the way it should be celebrated--without comparison to that goody-goody Ritchie and his golden voice. The party would have chips and salsa, food from Taco Bell, and maybe even a pinata. It was going to be awesome! We had the date set and everything. But, then Kelly got mono, and having lost its momentum, the party was never rescheduled.

Oh, man, even we let La Bamba Bob down. His life really did suck.


There was this restaurant called The Crossroads near the small town where my Great Grandma Bessie lived, and we would eat there almost every time we visited her. Although I've eaten there at least a half dozen times, there are really only two things I remember about it.

One, being the time my Great Grandma insulted everyone in the place on account of her hearing aids being in the shop. She didn't realize that all of her whispered, gossipy comments about people were spoken at an alarming decibel. Like this one, directed at a handicapped man: "Crippled, my foot! If you ask me, he fell off a bar stool!" We all just hung our heads in shame as the poor man's entire family looked at us in astonishment. Not a great moment.

The second thing I remember is the lemon pudding from the salad bar. I cannot tell you one other food item I consumed at The Crossroads because this lemon pudding was so delicious that it eclipses them in my memory. Seriously, I have never, nor will I ever, eat lemon pudding this heavenly. My mouth waters now at the mere mention of it. That good.

When Great Grandma Bessie passed away, I remember hoping that we could perhaps pop into The Crossroads for a little lemon pudding. I even mentioned it to one of my second cousins who lived in the town.

"Ewww....The Crossroads! No one eats there. It gives people food poisoning. It's so disgusting!"

I still would have eaten the lemon pudding, though.


It was not uncommon for me to lose my car on my college campus. It was a small campus, and I would sometimes go a week or more without driving, so it was hard to remember where I parked it exactly.

Once I was feeling very lazy and decided to drive to my on-campus job in the Writing Center. It was on the other side of campus, which might have been legitimate, if that hadn't been only a half mile away. I parked the car outside the building, went to work, and then walked back to my dorm, having promptly forgotten how  ridiculous I was to have driven my car there. A week or more later, I needed to go somewhere, but my car was no where to be found. I panicked. My car had been stolen! My precious Cavalier! Oh wait, didn't I drive it to work ten days ago? I found it still in the parking lot outside the Writing Center with seven tickets fluttering in the wind under the windshield wipers.

Another time, I approached my car in the dorm parking lot and put my key in the driver's side door to unlock it. But the key wouldn't move. I tried and tried, but I couldn't get it to budge. It was winter, so I assumed that the lock was frozen. Luckily, my Mom had given me some lock de-icer in preparation for moments like this. I ran back to my room and found it. But, even the lock de-icer wasn't working. I could not get the door open! I was reaching the limit of my frustration and, in a moment of desperation, pressed my forehead against the window, ready to wail out, "WHHHYYY!" when I noticed a blanket folded on the backseat. I immediately took a step back. That was not my blanket. How did that blanket get in my car? That's when I noticed that the tiny disco ball was no longer hanging from my rearview mirror. Wait a second. I quickly checked the back window and my ADPi sticker was absent.

This was not my car. I had just spent a half hour trying to unlock someone else's car.

I did a quick scan of the parking lot and found my actual car parked a few rows away. I ran over, inserted the key, and it immediately opened. Whoops.


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