Vainilla, Carteles, y Drogas

The building next door to our apartment, and just outside my window is one of the many grammar schools in our neighborhood.  I usually leave my window open at night for the fresh air, and in the morning, I’ll wake to the sound of children arriving for their school day.  Most of the time, the morning white noise is just part of the routine and, in a strange sense, appreciated.

Today, however, it seems that the school was hosting a small conference… a parents day, I imagine.  (Come to think of it, it might have been registration day.)  Someone set up a microphone, and from about 7:30 AM onwards, I could hear the amplified voice of a man broadcasting information.  He seemed to have a regular speech, which would last about 30 seconds and be repeated every minute.

In my morning haze, both before and after rising, I let the most of the words enter my mind without paying any attention to what they meant.  But, as the speaker would finish, all of a sudden, my mind would grab on to the words… “cappuccino de vainilla, canela, y chocolate” (or “…vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate”).  In all seriousness, I heard these words perhaps a hundred times in the hour and a half it took me to complete the morning routine.

Many times, the man spoke these words, but, in the semi-focused state of the morning, distracted by my oatmeal and the aquarium, I would often hear something different, such as losing the end of “chocolate” to hear only “choco.”  However, sometimes these syllabatic translations would transduce the words into bizarre and fantastical meanings.  Like a dream, many of the details now escape me, except for one, which, I swear I heard: “…de vanilla, carteles, y drogas.”  That couldn’t be right, could it?


México, D.F.