Juan and El Toro

How different our worlds are and are probably the same

By Michael Lopez
Published on LatinoLA: April 19, 2005

Juan and El Toro

9:45 am Tuesday April 5, 2005
Juan and ?El Toro?

Back and forth he goes past my office window. The sound of the engine gets faint, then loud, then faint again. I watch him go by and wonder what his name is? Juan? Pedro? Julio? Where is he from? Is he from Mexico? If so, did he swim the Rio Grande? How different our worlds are and are probably the same. Separated by the glass window I have my world, my air conditioned office, leather back chair, laptop computer, morning coffee and my responsibilities.

And there he goes again, my brown brother, pushing the lawn mower that provides for his livelihood. On the side of the machine it has its name ? ?TORO?. ?How fitting??, I tell myself. How sad. Sad, that a machine has become synonymous with a race. How a certain labor task is labeled/branded as work fit only for my people. I remember cutting the grass as a boy and how I hated it! ?When I grow up and go to college and make it big I am gonna PAY someone to cut my grass!? I would tell my Dad and brothers. And today I sit in my office wanting to trade places with Juan and ?El TORO.? How Ironic, huh? Though I would never do that, I do dream how it would be? No office politics, overbearing bosses, project deadlines, emails to write, laughing at the Mexican jokes, being asked ?hey where is a good Mexican restaurant to go eat at?,? or ?do you speak Spanish?, and especially no more meetings!

I see things differently now than before. Eleven years ago when I first started my career after college I would see Juan go by my office window and I was glad that was not me. I had MADE IT! The first Lopez in my family to earn a college degree and enter ?Corporate America.? ?MR. BIG TIME ENGINEER? my family would call me. But I am not much different than ?Juan? am I? He likes to eat tacos, pan dulce, pi?atas, arroz con pollo, prays to la Virgen de Guadalupe and have a nice cold cerveza after a long hard days work.

?Juan? and El Toro has left, on to the next lawn. More grass to cut. All day long till sundown he will work. In temperatures of over 100 degrees. My office won?t ever get above 72 degrees. I have unlimited cold filtered water in the office water cooler. I have a free lunch today by a salesman. ?I MADE IT? I tell myself, until next week when ?Juan? returns to once again to do his job and cut the grass. I will remember how it might be? If I were to be ?Juan? for a day and play with ?EL TORO??

About Michael Lopez:
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Attended Texas A&M University and earned an engineering degree in 1994.I am married and have 4 children. I have spent the past 11 years in the oil industry and have travelled all over the US. mooch_93@yahoo.com

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