Before we talk about the word's prominence in everyday Mexican speech, we should talk about what it means.
LA ONDA is a noun, meaning 'the wave.' ONDAR, then, is the infinitive verb, meaning to wave, or to make waves. When someone says -¿Qué onda?- they're literally asking you "What's waving?" Then they'll tell me I'm "buena onda" myself, which is kinda like good vibes. They'll say a place has the buena onda, or say that they're looking for the buena onda.
Well damnit. I too am looking for the buena onda.
Thought we'd found it Friday night. Well, maybe we did, but I lost it since then. Got invited by a VERY handsome boy, in fact the same futbol player I've been checking out for some time, to a bar. I brought a huge gaggle of exchange girls, mostly Korean, then American, and a Canadian. We danced and had a great time, but he didn't talk to me much. I was a little disappointed, since it's obvious I have a big honkin crush on him, but was more pleased by everyone in the bar. We all agreed that it was the first place we'd been that the other girls there weren't stabbing eye-daggers at us the whole time. In fact, while dancing, we'd frequently look up and catch some looking at us, but they'd be smiling! Friendly and shit! One girl even had a whole conversation with us, she was so so kind. The guys there seemed more interested in talking to us and getting to know us and having fun than being creepy. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Woke up Saturday and laid around lazy for a few hours. Kiki talked Cory and I into wanting to go see a movie, so we walked to the plaza nearby and caught Funny People, or as they call it here, Siempre Hay Tiempo Para Reir. It sucked so hard! Unanimously agreed. Went back home and I got ready to go over to Melissa's for another sleepover weekend.
That's the thing about waves, you know? They're always rising and falling, coming in and making their way back out to sea. So had a pretty good time overall Friday night, but then the movie sucked, and I went to Melissa's only to find out that her roommate, instead of going with us to the gay bar, would be going out with some other friends. What should we do? we asked each other, and sat there trying to brainstorm for some time. Just as we were about to give up, that silly new song, 'I gotta feeling... that tonight's gonna be a good night...' came on the radio and her phone rang. It was a boy who, along with his friend, wanted to know did we want to go to a house party. Well yes! So we got ready and were out the door in fifteen minutes.
They picked us up. They were handsome. They bought drinks to take to the party. We got there ... and really didn't see them much for the rest of the night. If I took two hot foreign chicks to a party, I'm sorry, I'd keep an eye on them girls. Not just because we're fabulous, but because they brought us and we didn't know ANYONE. But then the ONDAS shifted, and a super nice girl named Nadia came up and introduced herself. We chatted and just fell in love with her and the friends she introduced us to. Things started winding down early by Mexican standards - the music stopped at midnight, I reckon because of neighbors. As we were out front, Melissa and I, talking with a few boys we'd befriended there, bemoaning the way the boys who brought us had treated us and wondering what we should do since they were our ride...
...the boys said, well we have a car! We piled in. They were super sweet respectful guys, so we just went with it. They took us back to Melissa's, even stopping for tacos on the way, and we all hung out in her place for a while, talking and smoking and laughing. It was super fun.
Melissa's bed is neither comfortable nor large and is right next to a super busy street that makes noise all night. Since we shared it, we woke up every time anyone had to shift, which was frequently, or some silly car made too much noise, which was even more frequently. Didn't matter; we still had fun and I still love her to pieces. Woke up the next day and headed back home to do some quick laundry and showering because Melissa and the boy she's been seeing kinda steady had a fella they wanted to see if I liked at a get-together to watch a big futbol game on the tele.
On the bus home, the Friday-night-futbol-boy called and asked did I want to go watch the show with him and some friends and bring some of my friends. Well... sure. I'm a sucker. I thought maybe he'd just been shy on Friday and wanted to try hanging out again. I went home and got ready with Kiki and we headed out to meet the boys where they wanted to pick us up.
He wasn't in the car that got us and when I got there he was cuddling on the couch with some girl. Total coward. All you have to say is you're not interested, or you have someone else... what kinda punk invites a girl over just so she can see him cuddling someone else? The kind, I reckon, who invites a girl just so she'll bring her cute friends for his friends to flirt with. Anyway. I'm not the kind of girl to allow myself to be treated like that, so I acted like I got a phone call and ran outside to take it. Kept walking to the street. I'd checked with Kiki first to make sure she'd be okay - another girl was on her way to hang out too, so she'd have backup. I called Melissa and asked if she and her steady would come pick me up and they were there by the time I made it to the street. Angels, both.
Got to their house and the boy they were supposed to be setting me up with said all of maybe ten words to me the whole night.
But the party was fun; they were cooking up chicken wings the whole time and had conjured up half a dozen different sauces to put on them, all so delicious that when they kept pressing us to pick favorites we ended up having to narrow it down to two and refusing to go further. At the end of the game, a boy had lost a bet, so his head got shaved; THAT was fun.
These ondas... they're coming and going and rising and falling, going great and going shitty. It's appropriate that the word features so prominently in Mexican speech because I reckon it's a metaphor for my whole experience here.
I woke up last night at 3AM wide awake, troubled by the strangeness of my interactions with the locals, and completely unable to fall back asleep. I puttered around on my computer for an hour or more, then tried to go back to sleep. It must have happened after another hour. I had the most vivid dream in which I was sick, and I saw, I heard, I felt my father come into the room, reach down and pick me up while I was still asleep just like when I was a little girl, scoop me into his arms and carry me out of the room with my head on his shoulder. In the dream, I thought... this is really happening. Is this really happening? I should concentrate very hard. Do I feel his shoulder more strongly than I do the pillow, or is it the other way around? The more I concentrated, he began to fade away until I was certainly in my bed, listening to the fan, feeling the scratchy blanket. It broke my heart.
I'ma just keep riding these ONDAS and see what they do.