There is so much more I want to say about this individual.

Mono came to our house last week drunk and made us both very uncomfortable.

“Eres bonita, eh?” he said to me. “La luna es bonita. Tu eres bonita.”

He gestured to me, the moon, and back to me. He spoke slowly as if to a child. Of course I understood what he was saying. But I didn’t respond in the way he wanted me to so he tried again, even more slowly.

“Tu eres bo-ni-ta. Porque eres delgada, perfecta. Como la luna, bonita. Eh?”

He had his arm around my shoulders, he was touching my hair. I shrank away from him, tried to push his hand away from my head. Eventually the topic changed and I stared purposefully in the opposite direction for a while.

Mono makes me think about humans in a way I’m not used to. I oscillate between feeling disgusted by his crudeness and machismo and feeling a warm friendliness towards him. He’s 50 years old, he can’t read, he beats his wife and never has a good thing to say about his sons. He has a great sense of humor. Mono is an engineer in a way. He solves practical problems with his eyes and hands, telling us that “si la cabeza no se hizo no mas pa’ sostener la mata si no para usarla. Hay que pensarle, morra.”

In Mono’s very specific dialect, that means your head isn’t just there to hold up your hair, you’ve got to use it.

We worked together on the farm, though he worked much harder than Sheila and me. Mono might be the hardest worker I’ve known. He seemed to have endless energy. He was a fisherman before overfishing and acidification made that more difficult in the Sea of Cortes. He’s been a brick mason and a construction worker, he’s transported drugs for the narcos in his panga for various sums. He’s had one year of formal education and he’s not too good for any kind of labor. I’m sure he knows that and I would bet it’s hard for him.

I can’t communicate with him well enough to peek into his head but Sheila can. She says he believes everything he sees on TV.


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