For the third day in a row I have failed to get into the Lima film festival. It is somewhat disappointing, but now I know: you have to study the program way ahead of time, and drop down on those tickets like a hawk the first hour they are available. I justified buying Jorge Bruce’s Nos habíamos choleado tanto as a work related book, but I am reading this lucidly written set of psychoanalytic essays on race and racism for pleasure.
Cholear in one of its more superficially neutral meanings is to mix red and white wine. Here is a better and more complete definition of the verb cholear, and here is an excellent blog post on it. Here you can see the verb in its complete conjugation, including the archaic future subjunctive.
This book contains, among much else, a psychoanalytic interpretation of the only apparently rebellious popular song lyric Cholo soy, y no me compadezcas [I am a working class mestizo or amestizado person, but do not feel sorry for me] (also available at art galleries as a T shirt). This song, interestingly, is a criollo waltz; here its creator, Luis Abanto Morales, sings it:
I also learned from Bruce’s book that although 12% of Lima residents in a fairly recent poll identified as white, only 8% were identified as such by the pollsters. Splitting the difference, we can say that Lima is about 90% non white, which would explain why I so stick out here and why I always feel so out of place if I remember at all what I look like, or see myself in any mirrors. Lima, not Salvador, Bahia, or New Orleans, Louisiana – each about 30% white in my time – is the least white city I have ever lived in. That is why I used to be so shocked to see my own face in the mirror – I do not look normal. And I, as much as any Lima resident, assume white people may be foreign, and look at them and listen to their voices, trying to figure it out.
In daily life, we are choleando, too, or perhaps we are choleados. Our teenager is going to have her birthday party. She grew up mostly in Orange County, California, where she became a fan of chicha music, as she would not have done here for reasons you will soon infer. Somehow she has arranged for a chicha band or DJ, I am not sure, to provide music for the party. Chicha music being working class, cholo, and mountain inflected, the maid has prohibited the party from being given in the house because we will lose class status “in the view of the neighbors.” We depend very greatly upon the approval of our maid, so we are looking for a hall to rent.
In honor of the party, which I will miss, here are LOS SHAPIS on “Chofercito,” a chicha song: