Hablando de lo que pica el gallo…formando un arroz con mango.
The power went out Friday afternoon after some FPL mishaps the night before. Nunca falla. Turns out we were one of the unlucky 2,600 customers that had power pulsating in and out in intervals until it finally went out for good. After my dad called and exaggerated the degree of the problem (like a true Cuban) we were told to expect the power to return by 5pm. An hour and half without power on a hot summer day in Miami? Le zumba el merequetén!
This cuban idiom probably has no definite, literal translation and I believe derives from or alters to a few other sayings. When used properly and in the correct context they all adhere to the same meaning and emotion. However, there’s no real way of defining it. Zumbar, listed in the Spanish dictionary as a verb, means to buzz or hum. But according to the unofficial Cuban dictionary (someone should probably devote their time and efforts in creating one,) zumbar means to throw or heave. Le zumba el merequetén in this case translates to it heaves the merequetén. Merequetén has no translation. In fact, I assume it’s simply a made up word. It’s origin? Ask abuela.
Variations of the saying depend upon mood or extremities. At times you may hear “le zumba el mango” instead. Of course, no one will be throwing a mango anytime soon but I guess that’s where the dicho comes from. In the event of an unbelievable occurrence, usually something ridiculous or hard to swallow, someone would probably feel the urge to lob something. Cubans may have at one point felt that a merequeten (probably what they would call the first thing they could get their hands on) or a mango were appropriate things to dodge at someone when in disbelief about a situation.
So after an hour of not-so-patiently waiting, my brother made the second call to FPL and was answered with an automated system. “The expected time of power restoration is 6:15pm.” Another hour?!
No no no, te digo yo a ti. Le zumba el merequetén!