08 October, 2008

¡Aguas, aguas!

Aguas, aguas  is a phrase commonly used in Mexico to mean:  be careful or watch out!  It is more frequently used than “cuidado” (careful), it  is especially used when one is  immediate danger or about to hurt oneself.

I have been fortunate to run across many Spanish Speakers from different countries, and I have learned that this is a truly Mexican expression.  

One does not think about, one just blurs out:  Aguas, aguas. For instance when we see that someone is not paying attention and is about to touch a pot on the stove that we know it is hot but the other person does not, one may say:  aguas, aguas con la olla.  (watch out with the pot, don’t burn your self).  However, when you yell out aguas, aguas and other Spanish speakers look at you like you have lost your mind and they have no idea why you are talking about water. Plus they get mat at you for not warning them and they begin to believe you are a crazy Mexican.

I remember that one time I called my Salvadorian friend Pancho and left him a message on the answering machine:  Aguas, aguas, "Party Girl" is here!!! I thought I was doing my friendly duty to warn him.  Unfortunately my message was not understood. I got a phone call later from Pancho who was not amused to see "Party Girl" at his doorstep [she had rolled into town in the middle of the week and wanted to go out and party]. Plus he wanted me to explain this business about the ocean or the river or whatever I’d said.  To this day we laugh about the cryptic message.

 Why “aguas, aguas” you may wonder?  I’ve always been told that in Mexico, long ago, before people had inside plumbing at home, people would throw out to the street the “gray water” of the chamber pots. So they would go to the window and warn passersby of what they were about to do by yelling “aguas, aguas”.  Who knows if it’s really true, that is how my grandma explained it to me long ago -- I am sticking to her story.

 Till next one...

La Mexicana

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