So today on her facebook my mama uploaded this close-up picture of her dog, Princess, with janky eyebrows drawn on, jankily. It may be the definitive portraiture expressing the relationship between my mama and her dog.
The caption of the photo reads “Ay, dispalinghado is her eyebrows! Si Princess. Lol!”
I wondered for a moment if my mama has lost her mind while I choked and coughed; coffee was flying out of my nose.
I thought about it for a while, and then picked up the phone, and I asked, “Mama, hi… what is dispalinghado?”
“It means… isn’t that Spanish?” she asked. There are a lot of Spanish words still used in Filipino languages, relics of the colony, along with Catholicism and melodrama. Some of these Spanish words stick out as Spanish words, others pass as native. It’s been three or four generations since Spanish stopped being used in public life, so often the Spanish words sound antiquated to me.
“I thought it must be Spanish,” I explained, “but I can’t think of what word it would be.”
My mama called out to my dad, “what’s dispalinghado?” and before he could answer, she said, “it’s like baliktad.” Upside-down, reversed, wrong-way out. I could tell she was uneasy with that synonym.
And then, over the phone, I could hear my dad yelling translation options from the other room. “Out of… order! Out of… out of line! Out of place! Not in the right… place!”
And then I asked the real question. “Mama…. why did you draw dispalinghado eyebrows on the dog?” We both started laughing.
Mama said, “well, I was trying to just make an eyebrows, but then she wouldn’t sit still, she kept moving and moving…”
“Mama,” I asked, “… why were you… drawing eyebrows on the dog?”
“I saw it in a magazine,” she said. “It’s time for her bath anyway.”
There are plenty more follow up questions I could have asked, but I ended the fact-finding mission at that point. It’s the range and scope of my mama’s goofiness that I enjoy, I need not plumb the depths of it.
Suffice it to say that it’s the dog’s own fault that her eyebrows are drawn all janky; she kept moving and moving. Let that be a lesson.