Right now, or right now right now?

At one point in your life, I am sure someone asked you to do something and you did not want to do it, but instead of completely shutting the person down by saying, “No,” you ended up saying something like,

“I’ll do it in a minute,” or, “In a bit,” or my favorite, “Yeah, yeah. Okay.”

It is a phrase that translates into, “I am acknowledging that I heard you (or maybe it is an automated response) and I will try to get to it later, but I am not going to do it this very second.” Whatever task that needs to be done will not be done immediately (even if the person requesting your help may want you to do it ASAP).

But if you were to reply to the request with, “Ok. I’ll do it right now,” then that is a little different. You are acknowledging to the other person (and maybe even to yourself) that you will do the task right then and there. Immediately. Presto.

In the Spanish language, there is this funny little word, “ahorita,” which directly translates to “right now.” Let me tell you, this word has confused the heck out of me.

I worked alongside this guy who is native to El Paso and speaks Spanish at home. If he was asked to help with something around Ciudad Nueva, he would say something like, “Okay, yeah, I’ll do it right now.” But then he would continue doing whatever he was originally doing.

Then there are the middle school kids I work with, and I will tell them to clean up after themselves, and they will say, “Yeah Miss. We’ll do it right now.” But then they continue talking to each other or playing with the soccer ball as if they ignored me.

This might make them sound lazy, but laziness is not the main issue. I realized that the words “right now” to native Spanish speakers do not mean RIGHT now. So I jokingly asked my friend about it, and he was like, “OH…I did not even realize that. It’s the “Mexican” right now…which means “in a bit” or “later.”

I now lovingly tease him and others about it when they say, “I’ll do it right now.” Most of my friends do not even realize they are doing it. We joke that it is the “Mexican Right Now.” If I actually want something done immediately, I have to make sure that I say, “Hey! Can you do this right now, right now?”  I have to emphasize and say it twice!

Time is relative in El Paso. Growing up with the phrase, “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be forgotten,” has really clashed with the culture here. It is an unspoken rule that if you are having a party at 7:00pm, then it might be a good idea to tell people it is at 5:00pm so that they actually show up (semi) on-time.

Anyways, I am still loving El Paso and everything it has to offer. There are some exciting things coming up, and I am excited to share them with you. Until then, have a beautiful rest of your weekend!


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