TOO CLOSE TO CANTINA—LSA sophomore and regular Pancheros patron Evan Lowell spoke proudly Saturday night about what he calls a “real effort” to reach out on a cultural basis to the late shift burrito wrapper at Pancheros.
“I see this one guy Chuy around here all the time, and I know he speaks Spanish. Now I’ve been taking Spanish for about three semesters, and I’m usually too shy to say anything. But after several shots, I thought to myself, ‘Why not try to reach out to them in their madre lengua?’” Lowell said, explaining how the regular language exchange began.
Now every Thursday through Saturday and sometimes Tuesday, if he doesn’t have too much homework due the next day, Lowell takes a moment to engage his newfound companion in what is sure to be a valuable cultural exchange.
“When I first got up the courage to use my Spanish skills, I walked up and was like ‘¿Hola, qué tal?’ And then Chuy said ‘I speak English, you know,’ but I still think he really appreciated it,” Lowell said.
“Now that I’ve been persistent about speaking Spanish for so long, though, he’s started replying really quickly in a heavy accent so I can’t understand him that well but still, it’s nice.”
Impressed by his friend’s successful conversations, Lowell’s classmate Jim Treeton has also reported using his Spanish 231 skills at the Mexican eatery, most recently asking the cashier if he could have ‘una cerveza’ instead of a soda.
Pancheros affirms that it does not serve alcoholic beverages, though the late night staff suspect Treeton may have had some illicit substance in his grape Gatorade bottle.
Both Treeton and Lowell report an immense feeling of brotherhood and mutual respect for their multilingual companion. “We really look forward to our conversations with Chuy. He even called us both ‘gringos’ the other day, so that was a lot of fun,” Lowell said. “It’s great that we can just pal around like that.”
At press time, Pancheros management had no comment on the success of the language exchange other than “guac is still extra.”