DAY 3, Wednesday, 1/31/18

Emily Jo Donatello

(call me “Em”)



Please open the audio below in another window and listen while reading this entry:



“Hey, how’s it goin’?” and “Listen, how it goes…”  These are both acceptable, not mutually exclusive, translations of Tito Puente’s “Oye, Como Va.” (In the pop charts it was famously covered by Carlos Santana.) I value both translations and both renditions. Depending on my mood or interest at the time I’m listening, I’ll play one or the other.


Yet for this diary entry I must choose Tito’s original. In it the words and, therefore, the meanings are featured more prominently, the musicianship less forceful, so the wonderfully Latin double edge — is it a question or a command — or both? — comes across dramatically for me. Note also that throughout the lyric one often hears the noun “mulata” and sometimes its diminutive, “mulatita.” This noun refers to a woman of mixed race: European (Latina)/African. (Could it also imply transgender, I’ve always wondered?) And just when, bouncing along with that “ritmo” (rhythm), you think the song should not end, it doesn’t. Instead it contains a delightful false-ending, as in the performance the band pleads with Tito to “venga” (come), “one more time.”


Surely neither Tito, nor Carlos for that matter, ever really meant for this song to give rhythm to transgenders. But to me, for me it always has, ever since I first recognized its double identity. And what joy its rhythm brings (in part the lyric says, “listen how it goes, my rhythm, it’s good for having fun…”). I let the music take me wherever my spirit wants to go. It’s a personal anthem, even though my heritage is not Hispanic but Italian-American. Thanks, Tito and you too, Carlos. I do love those Latin rhythms. They do release my soul.


Today I am out of CT, the base of my male existence, and into NJ, where Emily holds sway.




My mission: “get it together, girl. You’re leaving tomorrow and not on a jet plane either. ‘I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.’” Today and tomorrow are devoted to driving, organizing, packing, schlepping, driving again, arriving, unpacking, collapsing (not)!


Last year I managed to carry “it” all in one suitcase, one garment bag, and one duffel — oh, and one purse, and one computer bag, and one camera! I thought of “it” as my “all in one!” Fortunately I have an SUV so loading is not much of an issue.



Unloading at the conference end, well, that’s another story, as luggage carts are always at a premium. Some attendees selfishly hoard them even after unloading.


I’ve found my best course: take my purse and computer bag and camera, lock the rest in the SUV, and check in.




That way I can inspect the assigned room (once I had to request a change as the room was dirty) and patrol the hall in search of a stray cart, which, like nocturnal felines, often plop beside a door. I’m the adopting sort. If I find such a “kitty,” I give it affection and take it to a new home. If I don’t find one readily, I make three trips. The exercise is healthful, right?



Psychic Hugs.



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